Strategy and Vision

Vision and Delivery

The London Buddhist Centre has developed a simple two-page summary of its core functions and who’s responsible for delivering them. You can download this here – Vision_of_the_LBC.pdf.

Facilitating Strategy and Vision

Amaraketu, who was chair of the Bristol Buddhist Centre, has provided this guide to developing a successful strategy and vision in your council and/or sangha. It is also available as a powerpoint presentation, by clicking here: facilitating-strategy-and-vision.ppt This has lots of pretty pictures and interesting visuals that are not reproduced below!

In the notes below, the bold text is what appears on the slides of the powerpoint presentation, and the text in italic is brief explanatory notes.

1) It is not as daunting as you’d imagine!

When setting the process up, make sure you frame it as a positive one that will lead to conclusion. Also it is based on looking at solutions, not problems. If you ask “what is wrong with where we are?” you will get a catalogue of woes: if you ask “what are we doing well, where do we want to be in x years?” you will get some creative responses.

Q: how do you eat an elephant?
A: a bite at a time!

Just a joke to make the point that strategic thinking can feel ‘big’ and yet it can still be engaged with, if chunked down into manageable bits: the process that follows is a way of making bite size pieces to handle.

2) Connect with what’s most important – and build from there

* Chances are we’re already doing lots that’s good!
* Don’t focus on problems- look for doing more of what works and stop doing what doesn’t

This is the key attitude to the process; focus on what is working- and ask positive questions that will take you into vision, not problems.

3) A format for successful thinking

* Discover
* Dream
* Design
* Deliver

This is the process: Appreciative Enquiry: 4 stages to be gone through one after the other. The point to make here is that it is a process of asking great questions that will best bring about creative responses, under each of these headings: and that there is a logic to it that needs to be followed.

4) The key is in the questions

* What was it like when it was at its best?
* What are we trying to create?
* What would we see / hear / feel if we were at our fullest potential?
* What will be our top 6 priorities?
* What can we stop / start /continue to do to move closer?
* What will be the first step in each of these?

A summary slide of questions that point to the principle of the way this process works: positive-framed open questions ordered from present success, through vision-creating to outline activities for change, finishing with specific planning and accountable actions.

5) Discover

* What is happening now that is good?
* When it’s working well, what is it like?
* What have been your peak moments?
* Make the answers sense-specific, connect with your own experiences and share with others

These are some suggested questions to get you going: think of your own; Notice they are open questions -what, when, how. ’Why?’ is not a useful question here as it can take you into reasons for things being the way they are, rather than towards what you want them to be. Encourage people to be as sensory specific as possible- what do you see, hear, feel, notice; what are the observable behaviours or results of current activity

6) Dream

* What do we want to create?
* What has actually happened that we could do more of?
* Get specific, connect with your own experiences, and share with others.

Again- open questions, what would it feel like, sound like; what would be the observable behaviours and results of new vision?

7) Design

* What would it sound/look/feel like?
* What would the observable behaviours be?
* What can we stop/start/avoid/continue doing to move us in that direction? (Be sense specific: it will give clues for the ‘deliver’ planning stage
.

Here, the same applies. Also we are moving towards plans; not yet in the “this is what we will do”, but in the “what kind of things can we pay attention to in order to make the new vision happen?”

8 ) Deliver

* What are the priorities?
* What are the first steps?
* Who will do what?
* By when?

More specific and focused- with people, activity and dates- even if just first steps.

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