Friday, June 30, 2017

MVP (Mission, Vision, Plan): Leading Change and Building for the Kingdom

mission vision plan damonmak.blogspot.comAn organization's longevity is dependent on having a strong Vision, Mission, and a Plan for execution. I will refer to these three elements as MVP. The MVP will face the greatest test when an organization, company, or church community is in the midst of transition.  Businesses desiring to grow or attract increased funding will also need a compelling MVP.  Before starting a new venture, it is also important to clearly write down the MVP and invite others to critique it.  I argue that all corporate decisions need to be made with the MVP in mind. Without these key elements and constant reinforcement and review of them, especially if there isn't clarity around the MVP, the company will inevitably face turmoil; for those who are part of these communities will likely leave it frustrated or lost.  Or if they decide to stay, they will likely either be disengaged or worse, attempt to sabotage it from the inside.  Therefore, the leadership responsible for carrying out the MVP have a crucial role–they need to believe it, live and breathe it, and are willing to carry out the organizations MVP even when the risk of failure is high.  More, they are responsible for communicating the MVP to all levels of the organization; we'll talk about how to create greater engagement in another post but communitas begins with a clear MVP. 

While I titled the acronym MVP for easy memorization, Vision comes first.  
"Where there is no vision, the people perish." Proverbs 29.
VISION: When crafting the vision, our eschatology (e.g. end-purpose and belief of future new (renewal) heaven and new (renewal) earth, coming down of the new Jerusalem to earth, re-purposing) in relation to "Genesis-intent" (Genesis 1 and 2, creation mandate pre-fall) may help shape the organization's vision; considering the grand narrative of God's past, present and future plan may help inform our vision.   If we are to be faithful stewards of creation and shalom-makers, the vision needs to connect with the missio Dei (God's mission). Ask yourselves, Who is God, what does God care about, what will God do in the end, and what does God desire for creation. Hence, I contend that the vision must include aspects of shalomshalom of persons and creation in light of God's shalom and telos (end-purpose and ultimate glory).  Seek to clearly articulate how the organization's vision of the future better the lives of people in way that they flourish, thrive, and become more whole persons, how the organization will improve the relationships between people and with God, or help humanity become better stewards of creation.  The vision doesn't have a time limit; and it is best that it doesn't. All to say, when crafting the vision statement, dream big and be open to the possibilities; more often than others, the vision will not be achievable pre-parousia.  While the vision is a big, it includes clarity of what the organization is specially called to do. Be attentive to what particular area of that vision God is calling the group to. It may include a statement of the problem in which the organization is desiring to solve.   In addition, it may reflect what a changed society, people, persons and so forth could become when the vision is achieved. Essentially, the vision should include why the organization does each day matters–its purpose for existing, raison d'ĂȘtre, and/or purpose for serving others. 

MISSION: Vision and mission can often sound the same. For me, they are different but are intricately connected and interdependent; I make the distinction by stating that vision is future oriented and our hope for the future.  Mission brings greater focus by helping us to understand who we are today and what we are to do specifically in light of that grand vision. In other words, what does God desire for us to do today. Both vision and mission are therefore important.  It is, if you will, our mission-role in the inaugurated Kingdom as we set a course towards the vision. The mission clarifies what the organization is called to do today as we participation with God's work in the world through the power of the Holy Spirit collectively and in each of us.   Our mission arises from God and stirs our hearts and calling us to join Him in the work--it is our response and how we are to engage and participate.  More, the mission is how that vision is incarnated in our context, in our organization or business. Moreover, the mission is for understanding the purpose for the day-to-day.  But while the vision is big and bold the mission has to be realistic and practical; individuals within an organization should not find it too hard to connect with the organization's mission.  Thus, it is important that when crafting the mission statement, involve as many people from within the organization in the discernment process, to gather other perspectives, and to listen (and to listen well) to what others and essentially what God is saying; further, allowing others to weigh in will receive greater buy in later on. 
"Mission, then, is ultimately not about getting individuals right with God but about incorporating them into a new community that partners with God in redeeming social structures and healing the world." - Tim Keller, Center Church.
PLAN: Before we Plan for execution, come up with the map of how we plan to reach the vision and create structures for implementing the mission, we need to have clarity and focus on our mission.  I occasionally run into questions of why actions are being undertaken; when this occurs, it is because people are confused and asking how actions are in line with the mission (and vision).  The mission needs to be front and center in the day to day operations. Decisions and organization goals should be considered in light of the mission.  There may be many opportunities that arise, but if it doesn't align with the mission, we can say "NO" and not pursue. Having the ability to say "NO" to things should liberate rather than limit us.  When establishing the Plan,  create a timeline as best as you can to accomplish milestones and goals established by the leadership.  Identify strengths and limitations and resources necessary to accomplish the tasks. This is the time to craft the strategy for execution and implementation.  Include specific actions and S.M.A.R.T goals for tracking progress.  Establish checkpoints for when to evaluate progress and for when to discuss recourse and actions when there are hurdles.   In the beginning, it is important to review more frequently but as a "groove" is established, let things simmer. More, in the Planning stages identify key players and ensure clear accountability structures and escalation points.  Importantly, listen to feedback from the constituents and reassess if we are detracting from our mission--being attentive to God's voice always.   Ask questions or ask around if you are not sure.  

There is a tension during the execution.  We have to remember that we are participating with God in God's mission and work in the world. We need to hold lightly to our agendas.  Ultimately, it is for God's glory.  Failure is an option--it's reality because we are still in the moment of the "now but not yet".  But on this side of eternity, we focus on doing our best and remember that all we do is for God. We are to be good stewards of God's resources in our businesses and communities that we lead.  This is another way of saying that we must allow God to be God; allow the process to take its time--enjoy the process and journey.  It is about working with God through it all, so remember to not take yourself too seriously. 

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