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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Vision 2020 Meeting

Notes from Sixth Vision 2020 Process Design Team

(These Notes do not reflect MCB Policy; they reflect ONLY the current learning of the 2020 Process Design Team)

July 24 & 25, 2000


The 2020 Vision Process Design Team began with introductions of several guests and the building of the agenda for two days. An invitation was sent to everyone in the agency to join us in dialogue about creating a future vision of MCB. The plan is to involve others in a 2020 visioning process, imagining what it will be like for people who are blind in Michigan in 2020. Several guests joined us including: Sue Anderson, Cindy Caldwell, Carol Curneal, Virginia Dean, Judi Dillinger, Dora Fulcher, and Vickie Rolison.

Proposed Agenda:

Introductions of guests and orientation to 2020 purpose and processes:

1. Review of the "Original Charge to the Design Team", and "Quotations from the first 2020 Design Team Notes, of February, 2000" for review of 2020 progress.

2. Dialogue Circle Introduction and Guidelines.

3. Review of the New Science Principles, Values, Beliefs and Assumptions that drive our future conversations for 2020.

4. Continuing development of a series of Draft Recommendations for the 2020 Visioning Process.

5. Dialogue on the nature of blindness,

6. Planning for a future October 5 - 6, NWR meeting in Detroit.

7. Need to explore visioning process design options for MCB including: continuous systems improvement, development of new service capacities, and growth of individual customer, staff, team and partner competencies in quality service skills;

8. Designing next steps of the 2020 Vision Process Design Team

9. Creating the orientation materials, and scheduling the next session(s):

Results of the July 24th and 25th Meetings:

Original Charge to the 2020 Vision Process Design Team:

The charge to the Design Team will be to design and launch a process that MCB can use to conduct ongoing short and long-term strategic thinking and visioning processes that will extend over twenty years. The team will be charged with designing a process which will include and involve all members of the Commission and staff, stakeholders and constituent groups and will yield their best strategic thinking, visioning and planning.

Quoted from the first 2020 Team Notes, February 2000:

1. Charge to the Vision 2020 Process Design Team Involves everyone, *all Commissioners, staff, managers, and partners should be continuously engaged in strategic thinking.

2. Launch an ongoing system to conduct short- and long-term strategic thinking, visioning, and planning initiatives, helping our systems continuously evolve.

3. Engage all staff and managers in creating a leaderful MCB prepared to provide quality services forever.

4. Develop all staff so that all function at optimum levels.

5. Establish dynamic systems that focus on increasing learning, knowledge and capacity to serve people, *at individual, team, organizational and community levels.

Involve everyone in designing a strong system that will be resilient, and adaptive, growing and adapting within a continuously changing and emerging, Federal/State context.

6. Facilitate MCB's ability to evolve and become flexible and innovative, with professional systems that respond to new laws, regulations, and opportunities over the years.

7. Create flexible systems that are proactive*anticipating growth and responding to feedback from all levels of consumers, employees, politicians, government, and community leaders."


Dialogue Circle Introduction:

The 2020 Vision Process Design Team reviews the Dialogue Circle Guidelines and answers questions about the value and job relevance of this process for opening up MCB systems.

The Dialogue Circle Process allows everyone to participate in creating positive futures together as a team. Members and guests are invited to learn together and share a conversation that is focused on the future of MCB and our mutual visions of the future


Dialogue Circle Guidelines:

1. Purpose -To Create a Safe Learning Community:

Create safe learning space *an Open--Connecting Place

Leave your title and status at the door -- All are equal

2. Process -To Create a Community Dialogue Circle:

Listen*for shared meanings

Suspend judgments -- No criticism -- No sarcasm

Identify common underlying assumptions and beliefs

Ask Questions, *Inquire, *Reflect on your learning

3.Context - To Create a New Science Growth Climate:

Enhance Relationships -- Grow in Trust

Imagine the Future -- Create New Visions

Share information as "new chemistry", as idea fuel

Explore possibilities, common ground & Mutual Identity

4. Content -To Create Holistic Conversation (on any topic):

Share info. - Speak to the center*to the whole group

Avoid positions/fragmentation, don't polarize or take sides

Create one picture--unified in a whole systems perspective

* Search for new thinking *new ideas & new learning *

Principles, Values, Beliefs and Assumptions in 2020:

--CUSTOMERS ARE FIRST, their satisfaction drives MCB.

--MCB is focused on whole systems growth, not fragmented attempts to change clients or staff or coerce new behaviors.

--MCB becomes more results oriented through partnering.

--Systems Learning designs are created by customers and staff, and are positively implemented organization wide.

--Judgments, criticism and sarcasm are discontinued as strategies for improving performance.

--Everyone is involved in piloting POSITIVE ways to facilitate, coach, resource and co-create a new MCB centered on customer's pride of achievement.

--Dialogue Circles are used regularly to open up and learn.

--Natural living systems models are most relevant to results,

--Emergent systems are the focus of self-organizing work.

--Shared Identity is essential to success.

--Holistic thinking is used to interrelate everything.

--Context or climate for change is clearly understood to be a critical component for growing new capacities and changing MCB's systems.(i.e. customers, and staff really feel/act like partners/teams demonstrating trust daily).

--Co-creation is key to our success. Symbols of real growth are paid attention to, and everyone asks supportive yet tough questions when a team member strays from trust.

--Customers and team members are encouraged to demonstrate high personal productivity AND continuous learning of new approaches to quality systems/services.

--All have freedom to relate and learn from each other.

--Creative thinking/ new ideas, and innovations are valued.

--"Encouragers" and "Developers" are valued as a new "brand" of MCB leader that is continuously improving.

Draft Visioning Process Recommendations from July:

1. The team dialogue has resulted in several 2020 Visioning process improvement recommendations identified as follows:

Continue to invite, involve and inform everyone about each 2020 vision sharing idea session, (including Commissioners, staff, customers, managers, directors, community partners)

2. Recognize the 2020 Design Team is trying to

--Create a safe space for continuous community learning.

--Eliminate sarcasm, judgmental thinking and criticism.

--Create non-fragmented living and learning opportunities.

3. Involve everyone in thinking about customer satisfaction.

4. Use Dialogue Circles and collect ideas about new visions.

5. Create a Vision 2020 Listserv on the web for all to Dialogue.

6. Work to free up both internal/external MCB systems.

7. Develop trusting relationships inside and outside MCB.

8. Ask questions in the Spirit of Inquiry, share info with all.

9. Begin to explore options/alternatives as they are proposed.

10. Involve all in testing new strategies using pilot projects.

11.Create a shared identity of excellence through co-creation of quality initiatives to satisfy customers.

12.Surface these recommendations and request individuals, customers, and constituent groups commit to: engage and involve themselves in some way in 2020, align ourselves with a general focus on excellence, teams, partners, constituents begin going in some mutual directions and we all agree to focus on learning, not criticizing, strive for continuous improvement of our learning and growth of MCB quality service capacities, and involve all staff and consumers in a mutual search for trust as we align ourselves around customer services, resolve old issues, and begin new partnerships and long-term relationships.

Dialogue Circle on the Nature of Blindness:

The group engaged in a lengthy and continuing dialogue on the nature of blindness.They traced the history of exclusion through the last several centuries. Because of extended exclusion, people have learned separation and distance and have been reactive to systems and things going on around people who are blind.

Questions were raised: How do we wish to design our processes to overcome exclusion, to be more inclusive, to explore many possibilities, and design systems that focus on high levels of customer satisfaction? Can we facilitate designs that are supportive and focused on living independently throughout society? Can we partner to achieve what is needed?

Notes from Group Dialogue from July 24, and 25, 2000:

Guests are invited to ask questions, make comments, or add vision statements. Guests are always encouraged to contribute anytime during the 2020 meeting. There are no formalities, all are equal here and invited to fully participate.

-The question was asked if others could be invited so all do not feel left out of the 2020 Visioning process?

Are there "trust issues" with the 2020 Listserv?

*For whom is it intended?

*Who is the Listserv "watching"?

*Is it a gotcha system?

*Is it really opening communications?


The guests and members raised several other questions:

-Will the ideas shared here by 2020, affect the future of all who are blind in Michigan?

-Will 2020 make any agency policy decisions?

-Will 2020 help people do their jobs better?

-Will thinking in new ways help us change our jobs?


-The question was asked: Is this 2020 Design Team an elitist group setting themselves above everyone else?

-Could 2020 list the products and results delivered and mention several unique accomplishments achieved by 2020 so far?

-How can we deal with these allegations, with "insider vs. outsider" perspectives, and with the fact we are being accused of being in the hierarchy?

-How can we make our work more directly relevant to customers?

The Design Team commented that the visioning process is:

-Intended to be a conversation that involves everyone in contributing to the future growth and success of MCB.

The 2020 Vision Process Design Team Meetings are:

-Open to consumers, and others who might be interested.

-supposed to involve everyone,

-an open invitation to dialogue,

-expected to open up MCB systems,

-involving everyone in the processes of visioning new futures.

When we talk about "bridging differences", it means we must be able to share all of our dialogues, and other information with all Commissioners, staff, associates, partners, customers, and community members through several informal MCB publications, including:

THE TILT Newsletter, our 2020 Listserv, 2020 Process Design Team Meeting Notes, and all other media used in the process of creating a shared vision and strategic priorities.

2020 is working concurrently with other MCB Systemic change processes that the Executive Management Team is putting in place:

The Executive Management Team is chartering many changes and is reviewing other a whole series of alternatives:

-Strategic Planning Committees from the last round of planning are being looked at and encouraged to go to an ad hoc basis.

-Extended Managers have all been involved in CQI training,

-Extended Managers Group is investing in long-term improvement,

-2020 Vision Design Team is all now involved in CQI training,

Vision Design Team is investing time and energy designing visioning, growth, and development processes for the next 20 years period.

-MCB is beginning the process of continuously updating current

MCB systems,

-Changes have been made in the MCB policy manual,

-Regional Offices are collaborating to improve processes,

-Extended Managers Group has been meeting to vision futures,

-Communications Committee is opening up communications,

-Commissioners are involved in conversations shaping the strategic futures of MCB for 2020.

-2020 Design Team is moving the Dialogue Circle Process to local offices in order to share our visioning conversations, involve more people, and to collect input from staff and consumers on what their thoughts are about a vision for MCB 2020:

-We will both invite staff to our meetings, and

-find ways to participate in their local community conversations.

-It was concluded there is a high value to going to where the people are (to their home ground) for the best 2020 conversations.

In another way, the Northwest Region is involving everyone by inviting the following groups to convene in Detroit on Oct. 5 and 6, 2000 to connect with each other and to engage in a whole systems conversation. So far the invitees are:

-NW Regional staff members,

-Communications Committee members,

-Extended Managers Group Meeting.

-2020 Vision Design Team members,

(As 2020 continues expanding our Dialogue Circle to be more inclusive, 2020 could invite consumers and others to our joint meeting in Detroit on October 5th and 6th of 2000.

Virginia Dean brought a prepared statement.

Virginia read it to the 2020 Design Team as follows:

"I am concerned that decisions are being made by MCB without offering an opportunity for consumers or sister agencies to have input. Our consumers are the basis of our existence. They need to feel empowered to have a voice in the decisions made by this committee and by the Communications Committee.

Such issues as developing logos, statements of purpose, goals, slogans, are excellent opportunities to offer our consumers involvement in the present and future MCB. People are most passionate about causes/organizations in which they feel membership or ownership.

A ready vehicle for facilitating information sharing and asking participation and input could be an expanded MCB Bulletin, which includes our consumers and our sister rehabilitation entities as follows:

-expanded Bulletin/Newsletter,(perhaps called "A Further Tilt")

-inclusive of others, consumers and sister agencies,

-some standard items or possibilities for inclusion could be:

  • a consumer focused approach,
  • a partner highlights column,
  • a synopsis of the last Commission Meeting,
  • a Coming Events Calendar,
  • -Ask MCB/Inform MCB column,
  • survey questions that seek feedback from constituents,
  • Articles/news/stories and new themes submitted by MCB staff, administrators and consumers."

(End of Prepared Statement)

The Design Team thanked Virginia and agreed to try to involve more consumers and address the other issues through the MCB. 2020 will try to publish new issues of the TILT on a more regular basis, but could not promise that TILT would be published every month because it is a huge additional workload, added to our everyday workloads. We will certainly try to be responsive.

-Core volunteer Members of TILT Staff are Janet, Virginia, and Melody.

-Contributing members are Tony, Beth, and Amy.

-The idea of rotating responsibilities for the publication of TILT among all of the 2020 Process Design Team was proposed.

We can reaffirm our focus on rehabilitating people to prepare them for life and work and independent living in community.

MCB should set high expectations and hold people accountable for excellence through quality management systems.

MCB can focus on designing positive systems changes.All are trying to eliminate judgmental processes, sarcasm and criticism.

Our focus on what should be done in the future and then we'll find some ways to make it happen. We can't solve issues of the past.

Carol Curneal asked the 2020 Team if we are beginning to feel ownership of what Pat Cannon wants done or if we are still reactive*more or less just following what Pat asked us to do?

The Team responded that we are trying to take some quantum leaps. We are going to learn some new ways of thinking about organization systems in New Science terms and then take those new principles and a new visioning process out to the whole organization for review and reaction.

In addition to asking people for their ideas about the future, we can also come up with a Quality-visioning framework based on the CQI models we are learning. Then we want to share them with all constituents and to get their reactions?

Team Learning

We're learning to propose new systems changes without allies, staff, managers and consumers feeling personally attacked for the way the current systems operate. We're learning not to feel guilty about the need to improve MCB systems because we've quit blaming the participants. We're learning to use Dialogue Circles to improve systems in a non-judgmental way.

We're learning to propose systems innovations without feeling the need to defend our 2020 ideas as "turf"

We are visioning some new service program possibilities to explore and some new ideas about quality services and will pilot them with a group of people (staff/consumers) to gauge their reactions before making recommendations.


Next the Team proposed a new quality-visioning framework for the work we do.

They suggested the framework should include:

-the Dialogue Circle Process Guidelines,

-a Learning Organization approach to growth and development,

-a set of beginning Quality Initiatives (Mich. Quality Council) that

MCB can use to assess MCB service systems and processes .

-a series of 2020 visioning questions asked to all constituents:

-Some of the visioning questions are:

-If you could design an ideal rehab. Agency, what would it be like?

-What do you feel passionate about in terms of Blind services?

-What is your vision of the future of Blindness?

-What priorities should MCB address first, second, third, etc.?

-What is your ultimate vision of quality rehabilitation?

We can ask consumers:

-What is your vision of quality rehabilitation? and

-How can we involve more consumers in our dialogue?

The team proposed to attend both the state and national consumer conventions in 2000 and 2001 and ask members to vision together and comment on the questions listed above. Additionally, we will: offer tapes, disks, and large print copies of Dialogue Guidelines, propose to offer a series of conversations on both days to get involvement of all participants.

Next, the group began to design the next 2020 Dialogue Circles:

-Arrival at 8:30 AM, - Session begins at 9 AM,

-Orientation for new guests is first,

-Invite our guests to share visions of 2020, make statements, give comments, or ask questions,

-Nature of Blindness is a core of our Dialogue topics.

-Future 2020 Visioning and action planning will grow out of our continuing Dialogue Circles on the Nature of Blindness, new technology advances and their impacts on society and the agency.