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Building Ownership: Making the Planning Process Through the People (Chapters 7-9)

The 4D paradigm for organizational planning promotes alignment between the organization’s values and actions. It drives ownership among its members by encouraging their participation where they can be most effective.

The major question remains: “How does the organization actually get started?” This section deals with some of the ‘nuts and bolts’ of putting the paradigm into practice.

Where Do They Fit?

In the 4-D paradigm, effective staffing at each dimension of planning is critical. It is important that each participant work in the dimension of planning most natural to him/her. For example…

  • The real visionaries are dreamers who have an understanding of the organization, its context, and the interrelationships within the organization.
  • Missional thinkers are best found by looking for people who have taken on leading big projects and have been successful.
  • The best strategists have strong problem-solving skills, highlighted by an ability to cut through symptoms and to get straight to the problem issues. They typically understand the organization’s context and have an ability to know how the organization as a whole works.
  • Tacticians must be technically competent and able to work with a large degree of independence. Usually, they are the closest to the customer/client/parishioner in an organization, and they have to be trusted to make quality decisions so that these relationships are maximized.

Leadership Integrity Required

A position at the top of the organization chart doesn’t make a person a leader. Real leadership flows out of a number of factors…

  • A real leader must have credibility among the people of the organization. The people of the organization must want to follow.
  • The leader must match up well with her people, so that they will be responsive.
  • The real leader leads through influence, and not power.
  • The leader must be willing to stick around to see initiatives through and to help the organization build long-term health.

Without strong, consistent, credible leadership, an organization will likely not be able to undertake effectively the 4D process, or any planning process, for that matter.

Finding the Right Start Point

Real Vision should always be the starting point for an effective organizational planning process. However, an organization may find itself in a situation in which it doesn’t have a true Vision. Maybe organization, or it leadership is new and still trying to get a handle on its organizational context. Perhaps the organization has been ‘adrift’ without much clarity. Even without a clear vision, the organization needs to move forward, where does it start?

Usually the best place to start, until the organization gets a sense of its true vision, is the development of missional and strategic planning around areas of strength, or its competencies. By making its strengths the focus of their planning, the organization is sharpening itself, and becoming better equipped to take on whatever may be required when the true vision comes to light. Its people will be ready to jump in and move forward.