As we’ve reflected on our identity as a business, and the values we bring to our work, we realised our vision needed to adapt.
I’ve been thinking about “vision” differently since reading Simon Sinek’s The Infinite Game. He talks about having a “just cause” that is:
- for something – affirmative and optimistic
- inclusive – open to all those who would like to contribute
- service oriented – for the primary benefit of others
- resilient – able to ensure political, technological and cultural change
- idealistic – big, bold and ultimately unachievable.
Through our strategic planning process, our leadership team and staff shared their thinking on what we’re aspiring to. As Andrew Hawkins, one of the ARTD Partners, and I sat down to draw these thoughts into a vision statement, we kept the concept of the “just cause” in mind. We wanted a vision to which our individual staff and clients could bring their “why”—whether that be reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, environmental sustainability or my own focus on working with people with disability and mental ill health to shape the policies and initiatives that affect their lives and increase inclusion. We also wanted a vision that reflected our focus on evaluative thinking.
Coming up with a singular statement of vision proved to be tricky! It wasn’t until a few minutes after I walked out of our meeting, that Andrew found me in the hall and said, “It’s about a more thoughtful world.” That was the beginning of it!
A more thoughtful world—in which citizens and decision-makers use evaluative tools to design and refine action for the public good.
Andrew and I were excited to share this sharpened vision with our team at our staff planning day. We were even more excited to see people start nodding in agreement and talking about how they could see their personal vision aligning with that of our business.
For me, the way we worked to develop our vision reinforces why collaboration is one of our organisational values. Our staff planning day was a great opportunity to unpack what collaboration looks like (and how The Outward Mindset can support this).
Equally powerful was our afternoon open space technology inspired session. We used the approach—which was designed to create meetings that have “the energy of a good coffee break combined with the substance of a carefully prepared agenda”—at a few Australian Evaluation Society events last year with great feedback, so I was keen to see what our team would make of it.
After a few moments of silence, as we stared at a blank agenda, people began filling it in with topics as broad as mental health at work, fostering diversity, housing policy, and the human skills we need for the future of consulting. Moving between the groups, I couldn’t help but be struck by the passion and reflective capacity of our team.
In summing up the day, both Emily and Andrew identified that being a good consultant goes hand in hand with being a good person, and work in either domain pays off in the other. We’re lucky to have such a great team to grow with.
A more thoughtful world starts with each of us. I’m looking forward to our conversations with our clients, their clients, and our partners and staff about ways we do this in 2020.