How to hold a future-vision meeting

Clubs in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia are holding RAC townhall meetings this month where members will be invited to share their dreams about how Radio Amateurs of Canada can better meet the needs of future generations of licensed Canadian amateur radio operators.

We’d like to hear from the executives of other clubs about whether your club is planning a meeting to discuss what an ideal future would look like for your national association and maybe even your club as well.

The first thing I’d recommend meeting organizers do is read Parts One to Seven of John Bartlett, VE1OZ/HK3OZ’s transformational process documents before the club meeting. These seven parts outline how to create a future vision for RAC and describe the visioning process. The first seven parts are clear and concise directions and can be easily read in a few minutes of time.

In order to create the positive future-based conversation, it’s critical that all the comments be focused on a positive future. This means it is essential to refrain from entertaining comments about the past and what needs “fixing.” Some members of your clubs will find this a real challenge as in Western society we’re so used to identifying a problem and then coming up with a solution. (The engineers in your club will understand this issue.) But “fixing-thinking” is not helpful in this future-oriented process. See Part Two for how this happens.

In Part Seven of the transformational process documents John has a list of what needs fixing. We all know what needs fixing. So if you hear these topics coming up as issues, you’ll know you’re back into “fixing”. RAC has actually been pretty good at fixing problems as they get identified. Where we’re suffering is from a lack of collective understanding about where the organization could and should go. (You could say we’ve been good at doing a lot of things but we’re not clear if we’re doing the right things for the future of RAC and Amateur Radio.)

In short what we don’t have is a vision of what sort of association we’re creating for the betterment of all licensed amateur radio operators in Canada.

If people fall back into “fixing” or worse “blaming” talk, the meeting moderator must bring the focus of the discussion back to the future vision. As I said future visioning can be very uncomfortable for some folks but it’s what’s needed to create a successful visioning meeting. Members who are committed to reviewing past slights or reliving old battles can easily derail the visioning process. The visioning meeting isn’t group or a personal therapy session and members who insist on exposing their old wounds need to be encouraged to sit down. (Club executive members may wish to talk to anyone harbouring old feelings after the meeting in a one-on-one session over coffee. The floor of the visioning meeting isn’t the time or the place.)

Finally, every visioning meeting should have a scribe appointed to record in point form the positive future visions offered by the members and then send us the document for inclusion in the national visioning meeting coming up in Ottawa at the end of October. (BTW encourage your members to send their emails to us directly as well. All documents will be included in the Ottawa process.)

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