Peacock Examines The Process

by Lt. Colonel Raymond L. Peacock – 

Urgent matters need to be addressed both quickly and effectively. Books like The One Minute Manager and The One Minute Parent boil down the essentials of managing or parenting into ideas that can be conveyed in a minute or less.

In a similar manner, your corps is being asked to convey a vision. I imagine some see this as an awesome task: one that will take tons of effort and produce a scholarly, multi-page document. Heaven forbid! What is needed is a vision statement that can be conveyed in five minutes or less.

Now, good writers will tell you that if you want pages written, they can give it to you in a day. On the other hand, if you want just a paragraph, it may take longer. It’s the same with a good vision statement. John P. Kotter in his book Leading Change has said “developing a good vision is an exercise of both the head and heart; it takes some time. It always involves a group of people, and it is tough to do well.” Let’s consider the four points he made, for they allow us to see how the vision statement can be created.

1. A good vision is an exercise of both head and heart. Your corps vision statement should be grounded in sound thinking. Yet it should also be grounded in sensible values that resonate deeply.

2. A good vision takes time. Your corps has four or five months to create a vision statement. You can begin anytime after your divisional visioning rally (see rally schedule on page 1) and need to complete the statement by the end of February. The key is to start as early as possible, because the process takes time and several drafts may be needed.

3. A good vision involves a group of people.The corps vision statement cannot be written by the corps officer or single soldier, no matter how gifted they may be at writing. The plan calls for creation of a corps “vision team.” Each corps will need to think in terms of five to twelve people being involved on the team. Ideally, their work will be shared at a soldier’s meeting or other large gathering.

4. A good vision is tough to do well. This is not an exercise to be taken lightly. It will require time and effort. But, no one will be left on his or her own to accomplish the task. Each corps will be provided a “visioning tool kit.” The kit will contain information pieces, videos, a leaders’ and participants’ manual that will all be helpful in completing this tough job.

So, how can you create a corps vision statement? Use your head and heart, take your time, involve a group of people, and don’t underestimate your task by thinking it is easy. Which brings us to our second point, why you need to create a corps vision statement. General Paul Rader has succinctly put his finger on the ‘why’ when he said recently at the International Conference of Leaders, “If we keep on track as an Army, we will change. For the conditions of battle have changed. The strategies of the enemy have changed.”

Karen Prince, Concord Temple, Calif. —
“I see a more user-friendly church…one where strangers aren’t intimidated or frightened away by a sea of uniforms and hats. “

Further considering why your corps needs a vision, our own territorial commander, Commissioner David Edwards, has said, “We are in the business of fulfilling the great commission. Thus, when we seek to answer the question, ‘Where is the road ahead taking us?’ that question has to be answered in the context of our mission.” And then later he addresses the context of vision and strategy when he says, “The next question we need to answer is, “What ought we do to get from where we are to where God wants us to be?” It’s that picture of what God wants us to be as Army corps, in the context of the changing battle and strategies of our enemy, that shapes our vision.

For those needing more rationale as to why vision is essential, John P. Kotter, previously mentioned, says a good vision serves three important purposes. First, it clarifies the general direction for change. Second, it motivates people to take action in the right direction. Third, it helps coordinate the actions of different people, even thousands and thousands of individuals, in a remarkably fast and efficient way.

So, keep it simple. Visions can serve a useful purpose even if they are understood by only a few people. But when a vision is understood by most of those involved in the corps, a great power is unleashed. My plea to you is, don’t sit this one out. Involve yourself in the visioning process that is sweeping the territory! Invest the time and effort necessary to boil down your corps vision statement, making it simple, so it can be easily conveyed in less than five minutes.

Our Army and our corps are looking for new ways forward. Officers and soldiers may disagree on direction, may be confused, or may wonder whether significant change is really necessary. An effective vision and the strategies that come later help resolve these issues. Down the road, when the vision is completed and clear, one simple question–is this in line with the vision?–can help eliminate hours, days or even months, of torturous discussion and paralysis. With clarity of direction, the inappropriate can be terminated and the resources freed to be invested in the transformation process. We can be the Army, the corps, the officers and soldiers God wants us to be.

Sharing is caring!