“Camps,” otherwise known as cliques or divisions within an organization, can show up in many different ways such as “old timers” vs. new members, paid staff vs. volunteers, leadership vs. members, etc. Most organizations see this division as the problem. In actuality, it’s a symptom of a much bigger problem; the organization lacks a meaningful vision for the future that the members can identify with.
Often organizations will have an outdated vision or mission statement that the members don’t connect with. The members didn’t write it or don’t see themselves in it. The vision is just words on a page with no real meaning. Even if the members are aware of the vision or mission for the organization mostly they see where it is not being fulfilled or where the inconsistencies are within the organization.
When people are pulling in different directions it’s because they have different ideas or opinions about what are the “right” actions to take. Actions are ALWAYS a perfect match for the vision or image of the future you have and mostly people’s image of the future comes from their past. For example, if the image of the future you have is young people who join the organization will be are unreliable or have a sense of entitlement or are going to ruin the organization with their ideas, you act consistent with that image (but only always).
The way to create one team is NOT to go write a pretty vision or mission statement and hang it on the wall or even to make copies for everyone to carry around with them. Trust me, many, many organizations have tried this tactic and it has failed miserably.
What will work is to begin a conversation with the members about the future of your organization free from the limits of your past. How do you do that, you ask?
First, begin asking people in your organization about their high point or peak experiences since being involved with the organization. Then ask what they value most about their participation – what they love or are most proud of, or what keeps them coming back. Then, invite those people to go ask others about their high point stories and what they value. This will generate a new conversation in your organization. Once enough of these interviews are completed, themes will become apparent. This is what’s known as the organization’s Positive Core or said another way, what works about your organization when it’s working at its best.
Time to Imagine a New Future
After that work is done, now it is time to imagine a new future. If your organization were able to somehow harness or master your Positive Core and have it be the norm, what would be become possible? The best way to get to this is to ask your members the following question, “If you woke up 5 or 10 years in the future and our organization became everything you dreamed it could be as if by magic, what would it look like?” Ask people to be as specific as possible and to express what they want versus what they want to stop or get rid of. Again, ask a lot of people (or get others to do so) and look for the themes. Get a core group of people together that includes representatives from each different “camp” of your organization, i.e., paid staff, new member, old timers, volunteers, leaders, non-leaders, etc., to write your vision of the future. Be sure to write it in the present tense.
If you do this you will truly have a vision that represents your members’ hopes and dreams. This will infuse an enormous amount of energy and excitement into your organization.
You are not done
Once you have your vision articulated, the next step is to design or redesign your organization so that it fulfills on your new vision. The way your organization is currently designed produces the results you currently have.
New vision requires a new design.
Inquire into what new structures and strategies will be required to bring this new vision into reality. This is going to take innovative thinking and letting go of fixing problems. Instead, focus on what you want to create and build on what works in your organization.
To read a case study where this strategy was successfully utilized see attached pdf.
If you want help creating one team, contact us to schedule a strategy session.