Tag Archives: scott miller

New Standards for Ending Poverty So Everyone Has Enough Money

Ending poverty in the United States means embracing a radically new economy that makes it possible for everyone to have enough money, meaning, and friends.

Circles USA is an intentional community-building process, building relationships between haves and have-nots for the purpose of giving everyone involved more peace of mind regarding money. Whether you are Libertarian, Socialist, Democrat, or Republican, one thing we do have in common is the fear of being controlled by others who may not have our best interests in mind.

Money has long been a way to control the behavior of others. One of many paths to freedom is to determine what amount of money one absolutely needs to be happy and then decide that this is enough money to have rolling in each month.

If you Google “how much money to be happy,” you will find several articles related to recent Princeton and Town and Country surveys. Bottom-line: Making about $75,000 to $95,000 a year is very satisfying to most people. After that, people are often chasing more money but getting diminishing returns on happiness from it. However, 75% of U.S. households make less than $75,000 a year. So, this means three of every four homes may want and might need to make more money. Conversely, the other 25% may do well to relax their attention on making money and find new ways to help others.

Science shows that the stress hormone cortisol goes down when we are focused on helping others. Having an economic system that incentivizes giving to others is attractive to those who want to evolve into happier beings. For those who have made a lot of money and noticed the limits of its ability to make them happy (think of the modernists described in Cultural Creatives) or for those who cannot see a pathway to making larger sums of money, shareable economies offer hopeful alternatives.

The Nature of Humans is to Evolve Consciousness.

Numerous systems have been constructed to help define various levels of consciousness. Those of us who aspire to live more like Jesus, or Buddha, or Krishna, or other spiritual masters require structures that can help us attain higher levels of consciousness. Belonging to a group, studying spiritual teachings, and walking the talk is all-important. But what about the economy that we use to meet our needs and to serve others? Is it reinforcing our spiritual goals? Perhaps it holds us back, and we should upgrade to a system that better supports the well-being of all.

Sharing economies will likely become more popular with 75% of Americans living on less than $75,000 a year and who are exhausted, discouraged, and ready to give up on the old American Dream. According to a 2017 Banking Rates survey, more than half of Americans (57 percent) have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts.

We do not yet have a collective understanding of how to manage money. We have yet to formalize financial education for our citizens through the public schools. It’s like telling the people that they are going to live in the ocean, but they won’t be getting mandatory swimming lessons. Should we then be surprised that so many drown?

It’s time to align the American Dream with a newfound sense of how much is enough.

From the book: Enough Money, Meaning & Friends ~ By Scott C. Miller

To learn more about Scott Miller, please see his website here.

The Emerging Responsibility of Business

Paul Poler, CEO of Unilever, a massive multinational corporation, wrote an editorial in the Huffington Post in July 2014. Poler realized such a shift cannot happen in a vacuum. The driving force for companies cannot continue to be posting quarter-to-quarter gains. Not only is it too hard on both people and the environment and it’s not sustainable.

I have excerpted portions of this radical and optimistic call to adventure to the business community. It is worth reading the entire editorial.

It was Winston Churchill who famously said that ‘democracy was the worst form of government apart from all the others that had been tried.’ Much the same can be said for capitalism, particularly the form of capitalism that has been practiced over the past 20 years.’ … Capitalism, with all its faults, is the only game in town. The task confronting the present generation of leaders is to improve on it, to build on its strengths and eradicate its weaknesses. … If business is to regain the trust of society, it must start to tackle the big social and environmental issues that confront humanity, especially at a time when governments seem increasingly to be caught in shorter and shorter election cycles and have a hard time internalizing the global challenges in an increasingly interdependent world…As I have said many times, ‘Business cannot be a mere bystander in the system that gives it life.’ The environmentalist Paul Hawken believes that if there is any deficit we are facing right now, it’s a deficit of meaning….

Organizations are embracing similar thoughts to those of Poler. The B Corps movement in the United States is gaining traction with the formal adoption of triple-bottom lines: profits, people, and the planet. From the B-Corps website: “Collectively, B Corps leads a growing global movement of people using business as a force for good . Through the power of their collective voice, one day all companies will compete to be best for the world , and society will enjoy more shared and durable prosperity for all.”

Circles USA has also developed its talking points, which follow, about the intersection of reducing poverty in the emerging economy. We cannot reduce poverty rates without understanding where the economy is heading. There are clear indications that the nature of work is changing, placing new demands on people to be their own contractors rather than counting on a traditional job. For the time being, there is a major opportunity for people to prepare for and secure middle-skill jobs that employers are struggling to fill. We make it too hard for people to take jobs and leave subsidy programs because of the Cliff Effect that decreases subsidies faster than income can replace these basic expenses.

1. The New On-Demand, 1099 Economy

Companies can generate more wealth with fewer workers than ever before. They are rapidly shedding U.S. blue-collar jobs through automation, artificial intelligence, and globalization. More of the working poor no longer enjoy the security of being on a company’s payroll (w2 jobs ) and must take more temporary jobs, now being described as on-demand or 1099 jobs. While this change can be exciting for middle-income and upper-income people, the working poor and those leaving welfare will need relationship programs such as Circles USA to help them navigate this new environment.

2. The Middle-Skill Gap

Baby boomers are leaving the workforce in massive numbers. However, increasing numbers of younger people are unqualified for today’s workforce, creating a temporary crisis in filling middle-skill jobs (high-school graduation required but not a college degree). We are making the argument that solving poverty is no longer just a humanitarian cause. It is an economic imperative. Circles USA understands what it takes for people with backgrounds in poverty to make it in the workplace. And we know how to recruit and train Allies to provide much-needed support both inside and outside the workplace.

3. The Phantom Workforce

Many employers are struggling to find enough qualified workers to fill their job demands. In communities with higher poverty rates than the norm, it can be difficult to attract new talent from other places. People associate high poverty rates with more crime, weak schools, and aging infrastructure, among other undesirable community conditions. Employers must mine their own local talent from the unqualified labor pool. In other words, if employers want to grow their businesses and need more qualified workers, they must work in new ways to increase the qualified local workforce.

There is an untapped “phantom workforce”—people who should work, want to work, could work, but won’t or can’t– because of the cliff effect and the lack of comprehensive programs that support people through the entire process. The phantom workforce will resist entry- and middle-skill work opportunities until the government eliminates the cliff effect in benefit programs. The cliff effect occurs when assistance programs such as childcare subsidies and Medicaid remove benefits faster than people can earn enough income to replace them. By not pro-rating the exit ramp from these programs, the government creates a financial crisis for workers as they earn more income.

Circles USA is collaborating with organizations across the country to educate policymakers on the urgency and benefits of eliminating the cliff effect. We have built cliff effect calculators to beta test this impact. Cliff effect calculators give people the information they need to understand how increased income will affect their overall spending power as they leave benefit programs. These calculators also educate policymakers about the disincentives and harm caused by programs that do not have pro-rated exit ramps.

From the book: Enough Money, Meaning & Friends ~ By Scott C. Miller

To learn more about Scott Miller, please see his website here.

Four of Four: Common Responses to Poverty

The call to adventure to address poverty typically comes in one of these four ways:

    1. Provide private, limited charity to deserving, needy people as prescribed by my faith.
    2. Mentor someone poor who wants to learn how to not be poor anymore.
    3. Directly hire the poor.
    4. Support any policy that would eliminate subsidies that ultimately enable the poor to stay poor.

What’s wrong with solution No. 4: Dismantling subsidy programs?

Finally, the idea of simply dismantling subsidy programs in an effort to stop enabling people to stay in poverty is promoted as the ultimate quick fix to dependency. Unfortunately, as compelling as this might sound to conservative ears, reducing poverty is more complicated.

Let’s review the key causative factors of poverty that emanate from each of the six major sectors of society—business, government, education, human services, civic and faith, and philanthropy—and what their call to adventure for reducing poverty rates might be.

When I contemplate how well our nation is doing compared to other nations, I look at global metrics that go beyond a simple GDP number. In the Declaration of Independence, the pursuit of happiness is defined as a fundamental right, as long as you don’t do anything illegal or violate the rights of others. Using this fundamental right as the main metric, how is the United States doing?

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is a group of 34-member countries that discusses and develops economic and social policy. OECD members are democratic countries that support free-market economies. Their first World Happiness Report was published in April 2012 in support of the United Nations high level meeting on happiness and well-being. Since then, OECD members have come to see happiness as the proper measure of social progress and effective public policy.

In June 2016, the OECD committed itself “to redefine the growth narrative to put people’s well-being at the center of governments’ efforts.” The six variables for the index are income, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on in times of trouble, generosity, freedom, and trust, with the latter measured by the absence of corruption in business and government.

In 2007, the United States ranked third on the happiness index for OECD nations. In 2016, it had dropped to 19th (out of the 34 OECD nations) due to an increase in corruption and a decrease in social safety nets. At the top of the happiness index were the Scandinavians for the opposite reasons. George Lakey, author of Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Rightand How We Can, Too, explains in an easy-to understand manner how the Nordic nations emerged at the top of the Happiness Index, as well as in these other important categories: freedom of the press (measured by Freedom House, the United States ranked 26th); best place to grow old as measured by Global Watch Index; and life satisfaction as measured by OECD.

The OECD also does poverty rate comparisons across the 34 nations. Iceland ranked No. 1 with the lowest poverty rate, followed by Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, and Norway. In the No. 30 spot was the United States, followed by Israel, Brazil, Costa Rica, and China. I don’t know about your reaction to this list, but my mind jumped off the rails when I read it.

Most people in the United States know, and perhaps take pride in the fact that our GDP is $18.56 trillion, far and above second-ranked China at $11.39 trillion, and third-ranked Japan at $4.73 trillion. Our per capita income ranks fourth, behind Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland, according to OECD data. It’s interesting to note that overall GDP does not correlate positively with lower poverty rates or higher happiness indexes.

Being a wealthier nation also does not translate into being safer. According to Nation Master, China is ranked 12th out of 189 nations for highest homicide rates, and the United States is ranked 14th. In other words, you are less likely to be slain in 175 other nations than in the United States.

Wealth disparity is running twice as high and broad in the United States as in any other industrialized nation. The top 5% own more than 90 times the wealth of the median household. In the second-ranking nation, the top 5 % in the Netherlands owns 42 times the wealth of the median household. What is the factor for the happiest place on the globe, Norway? Twelve times. Is there a correlation between a national value of equity and happiness, lower poverty rates, higher productivity?

As Lakey says in book, Viking Economics,

Like most Americans today, Norwegians a century ago didn’t like the results of a wealth gap: the hunger and poverty, the crime, elderly friends warehoused or left in isolation, young people without hope of a good job. Norwegians also didn’t like the attitudes that went with inequality: an inclination toward arrogance among higher-income people and the feeling among lower-income people that they were losers, defeated by the system.

The Nordic model has been promoted by many in the United States who want to see more equity and less poverty. It has been demonized by others who feel strongly about the free-market system and limited government. The polarity between right and left media, politics, and arguments within one’s own family has accelerated as more people find themselves unable to participate in the American Dream.

Learn more: Transformational Leadership: A Framework to End Poverty ~ By Scott C. Miller

To learn more about Scott Miller, please see his website here.

Three of Four: Common Responses to Poverty

The call to adventure to address poverty typically comes in one of these four ways:

    1. Provide private, limited charity to deserving, needy people as prescribed by my faith.
    2. Mentor someone poor who wants to learn how to not be poor anymore.
    3. Directly hire the poor.
    4. Support any policy that would eliminate subsidies that ultimately enable the poor to stay poor.

What’s wrong with solution No. 3: Directly hiring the poor?

Nothing, as long as employers have at least a higher-than-normal poverty IQ. We often hear, I gave them a job, and they didn’t show up on time, in uniform, with a smile, ready to work. They were ungrateful, unreliable, and my business suffered for trying to be helpful. Again, the Drama Triangle is in play. We are giving people what they want and need, but they are blowing it.

There are a couple of new economic realities that make strategy No. 3 something that employers must undertake if they are to sustain and grow their businesses. In the book When the Boomers Bail, my friend and colleague Mark Lautman shows clearly how the massive exodus of aging baby boomers from the workforce now forces employers to mine the talents of their “unqualified workforce” to fill jobs. When there were plenty of job candidates, communities and their employers could manage a consistent level of poverty because there were plenty of others to hire, and the economy could handle the costs of carrying a percent of dependents without much burden on the tax base.

In communities that now suffer from slowing economic development efforts through which they are unable to bring many new jobs to town, there is enormous pressure to increase the number of qualified workers and to reduce the tax burden of dependents in poverty. This forced call to adventure is a great opportunity for communities to finally see that solving poverty is not just a humanitarian effort—it has become an economic development imperative.

Stanford University published a case study about Cascade Engineering, a business in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that found success with an innovative approach to hiring people from welfare. I had the opportunity to visit them and speak with owner Fred Keller about his insights into what it takes to successfully employ, retain, and advance the poor:

    1. An accepting organizational culture.
    2. Education, not only of new employees but also of existing employees, about what it means to be in poverty.
    3. A strong system of support for people moving from poverty into careers.

The results? Keller and his company improved their welfare-to-work program results from a 29% retention rate per year to over 90%.

Fred is now one of the investors of our Circles USA chapter in Grand Rapids. He sees the value of building long-term relationships between those who need jobs and those who can support people in finding, keeping, and advancing in those jobs over time.

A final post will walk through the 4th common response to poverty next time.

Learn more: Transformational Leadership: A Framework to End Poverty ~ By Scott C. Miller

To learn more about Scott Miller, please see his website here.

Two of Four: Common Responses to Poverty

The call to adventure to address poverty typically comes in one of these four ways:

    1. Provide private, limited charity to deserving, needy people as prescribed by my faith.
    2. Mentor someone poor who wants to learn how to not be poor anymore.
    3. Directly hire the poor.
    4. Support any policy that would eliminate subsidies that ultimately enable the poor to stay poor.

What’s wrong with solution No. 2: Mentoring the poor?

The problem with the second solution, mentoring the poor, is that it begins with the assumption that people with middle-income and upper-income means and backgrounds know enough about the experience of poverty to tell people in poverty how to effectively address the challenges of being poor in our nation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

People in poverty must inform all the decisions that go into making their own personal plan, as well as the development of community and government programs that are designed to “support the poor.” Without the wisdom of such a partnership, middle-income and upper-income folks fail with spectacular consistency as evidenced by an unchanged poverty rate for decades and decades of well-intentioned government and charity efforts. The result of these failures, unfortunately, is often to simply blame the poor:

“We have great anti-poverty programs; we just need better poor people.”

The first person I ever tried to help out of poverty resisted my first 38 great ideas to fix her. The more enthusiastic I was to find a way to fix her, the less willing she was to invest her time in interacting with me. I wanted her to take my advice and get out of poverty. Our relationship ended immediately and for good reasons. I had a low poverty IQ, unrealistic expectations, no support system to determine how best to be of assistance, and a worldview that she definitely did not share. Life did not look like endless opportunities for the taking to her. It looked hostile, disappointing, and dangerous. Her everyday challenge was one of survival. Mine was a search for more meaning through making a difference to another. I was willing, just sadly uninformed.

Follow-up posts will walk through common responses to poverty 3 and 4…stay tuned for more.

Learn more: Transformational Leadership: A Framework to End Poverty ~ By Scott C. Miller

To learn more about Scott Miller, please see his website here.

One of Four: Common Responses to Poverty

The call to adventure to address poverty typically comes in one of these four ways:

    1. Provide private, limited charity to deserving, needy people as prescribed by my faith.
    2. Mentor someone poor who wants to learn how to not be poor anymore.
    3. Directly hire the poor.
    4. Support any policy that would eliminate subsidies that ultimately enable the poor to stay poor.

What’s wrong with solution No. 1: Provide private, limited charity to the deserving poor?

Nothing is wrong with charity per se. Expecting that it will solve the long-term problem of someone experiencing poverty is the problem. The major issue with charity is that most people expect it to solve the underlying problem, which typically backfires because of a dynamic identified by Dr. Stephen Karpman as the “Drama Triangle.” My first job in the “anti-poverty” field was to meet with up to 40 people a week who were coming in asking for handout of $50 to $100. In 15-minute interviews, it was impossible to discern whether the financial assistance would help or hinder in the long run. Furthermore, I had no place to refer people so they could address the underlying reasons for being in poverty. It was this experience with charity that eventually led me to the development of Circles USA.

When the call is that of charity, we are compelled to see someone as a “deserving victim” who can be rescued, at least in this moment, with a quick fix of some sort. We do not engage with the complexity of the situation, instead prescribing the fix(es): Let me give you some food, a check, gasoline, or a referral to someone else who can help some more. I might be involved with a program that can help you get a job, repair your car, be a better planner, manage your budget, etc. Our unwillingness and often inability to acknowledge that poverty is complex for both internal and external reasons leads us down a path of disillusionment when our help doesn’t seem to add up to a long-term result. We might begin to harbor feelings of resentment toward the person who refused to be fixed through our “wise counsel” and best intentions.

Persecutor: Appears controlling, critical, angry, authoritative, rigid, and superior.

Rescuer: Needs to be needed. Enables others to remain dependent and gives them permission to fail; rescuing helps rescuers avoid facing their own issues.

Victim: Appears oppressed, helpless, powerless, ashamed—finding it difficult to make decisions or solve problems.

The Drama Triangle addresses individuals’ perceptions as they shift back and forth between roles. The drama persists when it fulfills some unmet need for individuals to continue in conflict in lieu of addressing the real issues, identifying solutions, and taking action.

Books such as Toxic Charity and When Helping Hurts have become popular study group material in faith communities as they examine their own experiences on the Drama Triangle. Circles USA is attractive to faith communities because they see it as a structured and safe program through which to build long-term relationships of mutual respect that begin to address the underlying problems of poverty. We call the participants in Circles USA who are working their way out of poverty Circle Leaders in order to reinforce the idea that they will make their own plans to move out of poverty and tell others how they would like to be supported. It puts the rescuer impulse on its head.

Follow-up posts will walk through common responses to poverty 2, 3, and 4…stay tuned for more.

Learn more: Transformational Leadership: A Framework to End Poverty ~ By Scott C. Miller

To learn more about Scott Miller, please see his website here.

Circles USA as a Strategy for Navigating the Emerging Economy

Circles USA is pursuing a 10-year goal to inspire a 10% reduction of poverty rates in 10% of all U.S. counties (300 of them). We are building Poverty Reduction System models that are synced with the emerging economy. While the idea of ending poverty seems impossible to many people, reducing it by 10% in 10 years seems more doable to the audiences I have shared my vision with over the past five years.

Perhaps the 10% number in 10 years harkens back to reaching the moon by the end of the ’60s, or 10% tithing as a reasonable amount to give back to one’s community of faith. Whatever it represents to people, we now have 60 counties on board in 21 states and counting to pursue this goal. When people get their minds around what this might take, everything that works against the goal comes to the surface with new clarity. The needs I keep hearing are for:

    • Better, updated job-creation strategies
    • More powerful and better-targeted training programs for the job demands of the emerging economy
    • Performance metrics and payment systems that reward workforce programs that help people make progress to 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
    • A strong safety net with the complete elimination of the Cliff Effect (disproportionate decreases in safety-net benefits when earning increases), incentivizing and rewarding work with pro-rated, easy-to-manage benefit schedules
    • Community-building programs that give people weekly support to manage poverty issues while they pursue a self-directed pathway to economic stability.

From the book: Enough Money, Meaning & Friends ~ By Scott C. Miller

To learn more about Scott Miller, please see his website here.

People Hear the Call to Adventure Differently

How one hears the call to adventure is influenced by one’s belief system about how the world operates. In early 2001, a national poll conducted by National Public Radio (NPR), the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School asked nearly 2,000 Americans aged 18 or older, “Which is the bigger cause of poverty today: that people are not doing enough to help themselves out of poverty, or that circumstances beyond their control cause them to be poor?” Respondents were roughly equally divided between “people not doing enough” (48%) and “circumstances” (45%).

A 2016 poll conducted by the LA Times and the conservative think tank American Enterprise showed similar results in terms of who or what is responsible for poverty — but with interesting nuances. For example, White blue-collar workers were more likely to blame the poor for their situation than Whites with college educations. When it comes to solutions, the study showed that more Blacks than Whites believed that government programs put people back on their feet and allowed them to get jobs and out of poverty. A majority of Whites believed that government programs create dependency and encourage people to stay poor. People in poverty believed that government programs fail primarily because not enough money had been put into them. More affluent people than working-class people believe that government programs are badly designed.

When people first get involved in Circles USA, they usually have a strong set of opinions about why people are in poverty and what kind of help they need. What happens through their experience with Circles USA, however, often shifts these opinions over time more to the middle ground. Many people discover that it is the combination of self-responsibility and planning skills coupled with new support systems and better designed private and public programs that can best help people escape poverty.

Because people do not change their belief systems easily, and because our beliefs ultimately drive what we do as individuals, a community, and a nation about poverty, the beginning of the end of poverty must start with understanding our current beliefs. While we have books and training programs that can increase people’s awareness of their beliefs, the most important strategy of Circles USA is the opportunity to build healthy and effective relationships across socioeconomic class lines. We want people in poverty to get to know people of middle-income and upper income means. It is through these relationships that people challenge their assumptions and arrive at better, more informed views of poverty.

As a White suburban kid, my primary call to adventure was to chase the American Dream as defined by making money, buying a nice house, raising a family, taking fun vacations, and having a respectable career. I learned that shopping is good for the economy, more stuff equates to more happiness, and respect from others comes through higher income and net worth. While my parents were born during the Great Depression and had a deep respect for the value of a dollar, my surroundings screamed out to me that consumerism is the path to happiness. My worldview might have remained the same except that I fell into an emotional abyss trying to be an architecture student, a path that did not seem to be my calling or fit my talent. Through the confusion that followed my leaving the architectural program, I encountered several significant guides who challenged my thinking to its core.

In my mental model of the American Dream, people could make as much money as they wanted to if only, they applied themselves. Through this lens, I saw the United States as the greatest equal opportunity nation on Earth. It was a level playing field, and if you worked hard and played by the rules, you would inevitably achieve the promises of the American Dream. Being poor was largely the consequence of not putting enough effort into one’s goals. Enabling the poor with subsidies, for example, was not going to help them in the long run.

For the past 40 years, however, I have met countless everyday heroes who have heard the call to alleviate the suffering caused by poverty. Heroes who have big hearts, keen minds, tenacious personalities, compassionate ears, generosity beyond the norm, and an uncommon amount of common sense. I have been inspired by the thousands of everyday heroes who have humbly answered the call to adventure and forged new relationships with people who have either a lot more or a lot less money than they do. People join our work with Circles USA because they want to help someone else. The nation has a deep tradition of charity, goodwill, and a love-thy-neighbor attitude, and it is wonderfully evident throughout our network of Circles USA chapters across the country and in Canada as well.

Learn more: Transformational Leadership: A Framework to End Poverty ~ By Scott C. Miller

To learn more about Scott Miller, please see his website here.

The Cultural Creatives

Paul H. Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson, in their 2000 publication Cultural Creatives, estimated that 50 million adult Americans focus on values that actively support the goal of ensuring everyone can pursue enough money, meaning, and friends to thrive, including an aggressive approach toward mitigating the problems of climate change.

According to a Huffington Post article, “Cultural Creatives Are Changing the World ,” updated on Dec 6, 2017, it was estimated that Cultural Creatives could now make up over half of the American population. This number may seem high to many of us because one thing Cultural Creatives have in common is the feeling of being alone in our values. We are not yet connected in ways that give us the common experience of changing the world together to reflect these values.

The values of the Cultural Creatives could be the key to creating the transformation we desire, values such as seeing nature as sacred, viewing relationships as important, and focusing less on material success. They want self-actualization and don’t believe in financial materialism. They want to be conscious activists for a world that works for everyone.

On the other hand, Traditionalists, as Ray and Anderson label them, do not embrace change, hold conservative political and religious beliefs, and are generally fearful. This market is dying off. Modernists believe in financial materialism and are secular. Success is a high priority, but they are being recruited to join the Cultural Creatives as they mature and realize that material success is not as satisfying anymore.

If you are a baby boomer like me, almost everything you think is normal is already changing: from the houses we live in; to how we get energy, transport ourselves, grow and buy our food; the materials we use for clothing and household items; and on and on. What has been an almost hidden force of cultural values is beginning to show itself. A recent poll done by NPR/PBS NewsHour and Marist conducted July 15-17, 2019 reveals that the majority of Americans believe in the following ideas:

    • Free public college
    • $15 minimum wage
    • A “Green New Deal”
    • Millionaire tax
    • Pathway to citizenship
    • Regulate drug prices
    • Voluntary Medicare for all
    • Gun background checks

The underlying values that support these ideas include fairness, society-mindedness, global-mindedness, and the diffusion of power from the hands of the few. While Modernists continue to press for free-market, deregulation, freedom to use the environment as you wish, lower taxes, etc. and Traditionalists fight for border security, nationalism and a merging of state and religion, the cultural creatives are gaining in numbers that will eventually change politics, the economy, how people practice their faith, our community infrastructure, the treatment of the planet, animals and each other.

Image Credit: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58681355

From the book: Enough Money, Meaning & Friends ~ By Scott C. Miller

To learn more about Scott Miller, please see his website here.

Building a Shared Vision

The transformational planning process builds a shared vision that generates more commitment and solutions than you had before you started. To transform something requires a clear vision of what life would be like as a result. You must make this visioning process very personal for those you want to engage in your agenda. You must engage Allies in a rich planning process that taps into both their deepest worries and their dreams for the future. You will create strategies for creating the next level of commitment from stakeholders to the shared vision.

There are three reasons to involve others in developing your transformational plan:

    1. To have a shared vision. Peter Senge and other experts on organizational development tell us how rare it is to find a truly shared vision.
    2. To generate commitment. Shared visions generate more commitment than visions that are passed down from above. People find activities more meaningful if they are involved in developing those activities.
    3. To create better strategies. The more people enjoy pursuing the vision because it is personally meaningful to them, the more insights and energy you have going toward getting results.

Your preparation for developing a transformational plan is now complete. You developed a clear leadership agenda in Step 1. You have recruited a leadership team, and you have gathered compelling data. You are now ready to engage the community, your staff, and board in the transformational planning process for the purpose of building a shared vision that generates more commitment and solutions than you had before you started.

So, what should the plan look like when it is done? How will you know if you have something that is really capable of transforming your community?

Now, it is time to start writing the plan that will guide you and your stakeholders over the next couple of years. Here are the most important points to consider when writing your plan:

    1. Make it highly readable. Use “language of the heart” to capture people’s attention and to remind them of your passion to achieve the vision.
    2. Make it specific, holding people accountable to leadership assignments that will make a clear difference.
    3. Continue revising your drafts until you can reach consensus with your stakeholders. Have them show it to others who will be playing a role. Even if it takes 20 versions, it will be worth it to get full buy-in.

Another tip is to have one key writer who is supported by someone with editing and planning skills. Let these two people synthesize the feedback you receive. Much of the feedback will be about outcomes and strategies.

One rule of thumb with outcomes is that they should challenge the stakeholders of the plan without setting them up for failure. You don’t want your staff, program participants, board members, or volunteers feeling bored because the indicators are too modest or feeling anxious because they are too ambitious.

Regarding strategies, the dialogue needs to be around two questions:

    1. Do we have the right criteria to evaluate the potential impact of our strategies?
    2. Do we have the highest impact strategies we are capable of implementing?

Learn more: Transformational Leadership: A Framework to End Poverty ~ By Scott C. Miller

To learn more about Scott Miller, please see his website here.