The collective act of individualized seeing

How do you scale vision in an organizational collective? For example, how do you keep the torch of customer-service burning bright in every employee’s mind?

This very short essay of  7 insights was born of a struggle with the question of “vision enablement”– i.e. how to keep the vision of customer satisfaction burning bright in every employees mind.  This “essay” defines “vision sharing” as the “collective act of individualized seeing” which implies that vision cannot be “given” it must be “owned”.


Why should everyone perceive value creation? 

So that each one feels valuable.

But in order that each feels valuable, one must not only define global “value” but also local/ located creation of value.  i.e. each one must feel, we have created great value and I have contributed genuinely to this act of creation.

This is human fulfillment at work.


So how to define global value creation?

We have tried out two distinct approaches:

One, we asked whether value resides in what the customer ‘received’ i.e. I am as valuable as what my customer perceived. This is limited as an approach.

Two, we also asked whether value resides in the ‘act of creation’ – the how? Primarily because human fulfillment is itself a two part journey, one creating value as a group (what the customer received) two, contributing as an individual (act of creation).


So the question becomes:

How to combine ‘customer value’ creation with ‘individual contribution to value’ into a integrated definition of value. i.e. value is neither ‘outside’ in the customer’s world, nor ‘inside’ in my mind, it is in the integrated ‘whole’ that transcends both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’.

This integrated ‘whole perception of value’, we call enablement – both ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ and more…


How to ‘uncover’ or ‘unearth’ this value?

If it is located in the totality of ‘engagement’ (both act of creation and customer value delivered) then it cannot be mechanistically or logically isolated.  It is not a product of reasoning.  It is a ‘collective act of individualized seeing’.


This is what leaders do

They enable “collective yet individualized seeing of an emerging whole”.


This is what every person  must do in the world to unfold.  Each one a leader. Each one a follower.


It is this ‘collective act of individualized seeing’ that results in

  1. purposive behavior in system,
  2. the ‘owning-up’ of responsibility by each individual to a common purpose, and
  3. the ‘agreement’ – tacit – among all that each will do what it takes to make it happen.


(Originally written in October 2004)