Vision: It Takes a Community to Craft One

Vision Casting and Vision Collecting: A Big Difference!

Peter Senge vision, vision casting, vision collecting

Visions that are truly shared take time to emerge. They grow as a by-product of interactions of individual visions. Experience suggests that visions that are genuinely shared require ongoing conversation where individuals not only feel free to express their dreams, but learn how to listen to each other's dreams.  Peter Senge

The typical understanding/model of leadership is the leader as Vision Caster. In this model, it is the senior leader who is responsible for "getting a vision" (from God), then "casting that vision" (communicating it) to others, and then recasting, recasting, recasting that vision. In other words, convincing others that the leader's vision is worth their time, energy, money, etc. One popular author says a leader must cast vision about every 30 days... because vision leaks, it drains, people forget the vision!

I want to suggest the reason a leader must recast the leader's vision is because the leader has a vision that was the product of the typical Western individualism and heroic leadership model. It bypasses that reality that there are many really committed people who are also dreaming, desiring and willing to work really hard for something they believe in. It is just that they are rarely asked, "What is your vision?" "What would you like to see God do in our midst?"

I think we are WAY PAST THE TIME for a new model of envisioning, that can stand alongside the old Vision Casting Model. Notice I didn't say replace it. I am too much of a lumper (i.e. one who loves the both/and and is highly reistant to an either/or approach). 

I believe we need a new model of the Leader as Vision Collector. That is exactly what Senge is communicating above. I learned how to become a Vision Collector when Vision Casting turned out to be inadequate to mobilize the energies of a congregation toward what I wanted. Once I started asking - what do "we" want, everything changed.

Tomorrow I will tell you the features of the Leader as Vision Collector and how to go about doing just that.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International