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Part IV: The Elements of Shared Vision

What is a SharedVision if it doesn't result in-or come from-a common point of view? Note that SharedVision is not a statement or a goal, but rather an existential phenomenon-a state of being a mature team that is intentionally attained. The SharedVision pattern describes how to accomplish this "multipersonal" state.

In The Core, SharedVision is an overarching pattern that describes the application of the team's collective imagination to the problem of formulating a group intention. This intention provides an "architecture of purpose" that will support the realization of that intention over time. The SharedVision pattern has several effects:

  • It provides the context for the ongoing application of the team's PersonalAlignments.

  • It supports both long- and short-term team objectives.

  • It defines a lexicon for the elements of contemporary team vision building.

  • It describes protocols for efficient, high-quality vision building.

  • It enables the creation of meaningful vision statements.

The SharedVision pattern integrates the essential components of vision. It represents the intersection of all vision-related elements in The Core. As a consequence, this pattern is tightly coupled with the following patterns:

  • Metavision: the vision of visions

  • FarVision: an imaginary picture of the world as it will be when the team finishes its work

  • Version: a sequence of discrete product visions and product releases, each of which represents a step toward the realization of the FarVision

The SharedVision pattern also depends on the CheckIn, Decider, and Alignment patterns.

Experiencing SharedVision and articulating a vision statement always signal the start of a team's intentional creation of products. This result is the first fruit of a team-a promise of things to come.

Patterns Involved in the Shared Vision Process

Shared Vision

The SharedVision pattern describes the achievement of a pleasurable and efficient group state of being. The members of a team in this state have a unified mode of perception and a profound sense of connection with one another. The group sees and feels as one. All team members in a state of SharedVision see team-relevant things in essentially the same way. None of the team members sees things as he would see them alone. The experience is generally thought to be superior to a more isolated one.

The principal effects of SharedVision derive from the group's continuous validation that an object of compelling beauty and importance can be, and will be, achieved by its combined thinking and intense, concerted action. Attempting a goal like that typically found in a vision statement of this class of team requires substantial ambition.

The SharedVision object is something that each team member would most likely see as impossible to attain on an individual basis, were it not for the ongoing validation and sustained support of the other team members. The object itself is-or at least becomes-loaded with supreme meaning for the team. Nothing is more important.

The team's commitment to attaining the SharedVision object is a passionate one. So animated is the team's fervor that the only real difference between a shared delusion and a SharedVision is the rational, step-by-step behavior of those experiencing the vision, which contrasts with the irrational and often random behavior of those experiencing a delusion. When examining the team besotted with a SharedVision, a third-party observer might decide that, although the fulfillment of the team's ambition is unlikely, it is just possible that members of this group could achieve it. "If anybody can do it," the observer might well say, "this team can."

The members of a team in a state of SharedVision perceive most important things similarly, because they hold the same beliefs about their purpose as a team, the products they will make, and the process they will use to make them. Usually, they share a few key generative algorithms about what they are making and why.

Metavision

The Metavision pattern deals with the role of visions, their importance, their use, and their development. A credible Metavision incorporates an understanding of the technologies for creating, maintaining, and ensuring the fulfillment of visions throughout an institution. It represents the ideal. Many times, however, a subgroup or even just a single small team may arrive at its own guiding Metavision, because the institution as a whole lacks a prevailing credible Metavision. The formulation of a Metavision is one appropriate response when Blinder is rampaging in the environment beyond the team boundaries. It is useless to await the formation of a Metavision by someone else.

Far Vision

The FarVision pattern describes a team's unanimously supported answer to the question "What will the world look like after the 20 (or another large number of) years we will be working together?"

Version

The Version pattern presents the product vision, as well as the plan for and the process behind the current product release. The release always brings the world of the team's FarVision a step closer.

Antipatterns

Consistently placing technical things first leads to antipatterns of team behavior. In particular, the vision-related antipatterns in The Core, Blinder and Technicality, can ensnare and defeat technically bigoted organizations. The former antipattern is spawned when a group seeks to maintain its unalloyed ignorance of visions. The latter antipattern is achieved by mixing into the ignorance far too large a dose of technical matters.

Blinder produces the most extreme obtuseness regarding visions. Even milder cases of Blinder nourish an unhealthy lack of understanding of the role and purpose of visions.

Technicality results in a bloated valuation of mastery of technical details. This concentration is a wasteful emphasis for the team. Technicality rewards the technical mastery associated with a given project or job (rather than results) and punishes its perceived absence.

Both Blinder and Technicality will undermine a team's capacity for the deeper experiences of SharedVision. Both antipatterns have effects that are as serious as they are common.

A Metavision is a vision of visions. Teams thrashing about, unwittingly hobbled by Blinder or infested with Technicality, necessarily suffer the inefficiencies and discomfort wrought by an incoherent Metavision. Conversely, a robust Metavision is the only effective remedy for Blinder and Technicality. A team's Metavision is its seed vision.

If you are a member of a team in a state of SharedVision, you will also likely suffer from Recoil, a distressing syndrome that is felt most acutely immediately after you have experienced a genuine connection to your own and your team's true power and potential for greatness. Recoil is liberally mixed up with the benefits of any new hope you may discover.

You will also seek a means to rapidly improve all you touch and do on your team. Your vision, and the hope that comes with it, will fade if the team members tolerate mediocrity. The inadequacy of contemporary Feedback, one common set of undesirable practices in contemporary life, will become apparent. Fortunately, the pleasures and the deep efficacy of the PerfectionGame will offer a genuine solution to the devilish problems associated with aggregating the desirable and purging the mundane outputs of your team.

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