Collective Visioning Exercise 7

Published on July 20, 2020.

Dear Friends,

Below please find Collective Visioning Exercise 7 from my book Collective Visioning: How Groups Can Work Together for a Just and Sustainable Future.  I have updated the exercises to make them friendlier for online use.  I will be sharing them over the course of the next few weeks.

If you would like to receive a free copy of my book Collective Visioning, email Spirit in Action with your full name and postal address and we will send one to you, one per person or organization, while supplies last.  We are only able to send them to addresses in the United States.  Thank you.

Peace, Power and Love

Linda Stout

Often our visions are very long term, and we have to break them down into doable pieces, usually a year at a time. The goal of this exercise is to produce a very strategic, time-specific, concrete plan that covers a period of up to one year. This allows you to put important strategies for actions you might want to take in place, though you may have to wait for some of them to be implemented.

Use a video conferencing program like Zoom, Skype or Google Hangout to do this exercise together. You can also ask folks to do this exercise as homework in small groups or pairs, once you have listed your goals or vision priorities, then come back to the larger group with their ideas.

Collective Visioning Exercise 7 – Strategic Short-Term Planning

As a group, make a list of goals or vision priorities (use “whiteboard” on Zoom, for example). Then use the form (below) to create a plan to reach each goal on that list (one form per goal). You can work on the plan with the whole group or break into small groups or pairs. Leave plenty of time for this exercise in order for groups to come up with a well-thought-out, thorough plan, one to two hours depending on your goals and time available.

Here is a form I use for planning each goal. Email it to participants before your call. You can change the words to fit your group’s needs, but having a format for people to work from is very important. Some of my forms are very simple, and some are more complex, depending on the group I’m working with. All have the same basic planning questions.

As each group works on their goal, ask them to incorporate these three very important guidelines:

  • If you lay out a plan and don’t have enough people or leaders to carry it out, then you have to go back and either downsize the plan to make it doable or create a plan that builds up to the number of people you need.
  • Make sure you compare all the goals and lay them out on a calendar. You don’t want to be planning a fundraiser during another campaign or action, so make sure the plans fit together.
  • Ask all participants to take an inventory of their time. If their time is already stretched to the limit, what are they going to give up or shift in order to achieve their vision? You can use creative brainstorming to help people answer this question. For example, at the Piedmont Peace Project, many people had children or elders they needed to care for. We figured out a way to include them. It wasn’t unusual for us to have four generations working together on a project.

Once everybody has finished working on their goals, reconvene to discuss each plan in detail to gain consensus and answer any questions before you move forward.

You can read and apply more exercises like this one from my book, Collective Visioning.

My blog, “Powerful Opportunities for Change,” focuses on Why Rosa Parks Really Sat Down on the Bus and the role of women leading the civil rights movement. They didn’t only show up, they made big, strategic plans. Just as history often overlooks the contributions of African Americans, so does it overlook the story of women, telling “his-story” as opposed to “her-story.” I hope you will share this blog with others, especially young girls and women, remembering the powerful role women have played in creating change in our world.


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