Thursday, March 8, 2012

Values, Vision, Goals, Strategies and Tactics

On the flannel board... a hierarchical representation of Values, Vision, Goals, Strategies and Tactics

Over the years, I've been involved in many organizational start up and strategic planning efforts, and I've found that there are practically as many ways to do it as there are consultants to tell you how to do it. The basic format, though, stays pretty much the same.

Start with a set of Values. Expand Values into a Vision (in an organization, the Vision may be indistinguishable from a Mission or they may be quite separate). The Vision tells you where you are heading. The Mission tells you the purpose of heading there.

Set measurable Goals on the path toward fulfilling your Vision/Mission. (Objectives are interim steps toward organizational Goals and can help clarify what you need to do along the way, but setting Goals and Objectives for particular actions is a separate matter.)

Develop Strategies for reaching Goals: Strategies are the means employed to reach Goals, for example, my Strategy for getting to San Francisco tomorrow may be by riding the Capitol Corridor train.

Utilize Tactics to fulfill the Strategy: Tactics are the methods employed to fulfill Strategies, for example, if my Strategy for getting to San Francisco tomorrow is by riding the Capitol Corridor, then my Tactics might include purchasing a ticket online, checking the schedule, getting to the station at some ungodly hour, and so on.

As I've traveled around to various Occupys -- virtually by means of
the internet and through various discussion groups, and on the ground in
person -- and as I've tried to pay attention to what's going on in the
global context and witnessed and participated in numerous goal
setting, strategy and tactics discussions, four Values keep
percolating to the surface:

  • Dignity
  • Justice
  • Community
  • Peace

From these Values an overarching Goal emerges:

  • To change the economic, political and social Systems -- to make them fairer, more equitable and just, and to ensure sustainability for life on Earth -- including our species

A range of Strategies are employed to accomplish this Goal, but
they typically resolve to two:

  • by delegitimizing present authority and
  • by demonstrating how a better world is not only possible but can,
  • does and will work

Tactics vary widely depending on the circumstances, locations,
objectives, and the people involved. Taken as a whole, however:

the Occupy Movement is by definition an organic, evolutionary,
international Nonviolent Resistance Campaign -- one that
occasional incidents of vandalism and/or throwing things does not and
cannot change.

As a corollary, I've found a wide-spread recognition that the
Movement creates its own Narrative and does not depend on major mass
media for definition or accuracy in reporting (See: "delegitimizing
present authority" above).

There is no sign anywhere that the Occupy Movement is becoming or
likely to become a Violent Resistance Campaign involving armed
insurrection or the threat or use of deadly force; it's just not part
of the organic and evolutionary nature of Occupy.

During a Occupy Strategy forum I attended last weekend, however, a
question was raised regarding what might happen if governments in the
United States choose to employ lethal force against the Occupy
Movement. Would that change its nature?

From my perspective, the answer is "No." Hundreds and hundreds have
already been injured, some nearly fatally. Thousands upon thousands
have been arrested, many of whom have been held under torturous
conditions. If anything, the essential nature of the Occupy Movement
has been strengthened by these events. Ratcheting up the level of
force used against the Movement has been occurring from the beginning,
and there is no sign that continuing to ratchet up the force levels
will change the nature of the Movement.

By recognizing and maintaining values of Dignity, Justice, Community,
and Peace, keeping our focus on the goal of changing the economic,
social and political systems to make them fairer, more equitable and
just, and to ensure sustainability for life on Earth and our species,
by a simultaneous strategy of delegitimizing present authority and
building up and demonstrating alternatives, utilizing creative and
nonviolent resistance tactics, the Occupy Movement is truly revolutionary and unstoppable.

Just some thoughts to throw into the ever-bubbling cauldron.

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