By: Gayle Dendinger Issue: Sports Section: Letter From The Publisher
Vision is fused throughout the world of sports. The overall vision within each individual sport is to win. However, each vision in sports requires very different ways to achieve the same winning results. For example, the vision in baseball is to hit the ball with a bat, sprint around the bases and score as many runs as possible. In football, the winning objective is to score points by advancing the ball into the opposing team’s end zone. In hockey, a player needs to maneuver a puck into the opponent’s net or goal. Whatever means are used the vision is always the same - to win.
I look at ideas metaphorically and I see vision as the dragonfly eyes. The dragonfly’s large compound eyes are among its most notable features and may also be its most important attribute. Each compound eye is made up of many smaller eyes. These individual smaller eyes are able to create images on their own. The real advantage to this adaptation is the ability for the dragonfly to form a big picture by synthesizing all of these images together.
Being able to have a vision of all that makes up, surrounds, and affects a collaborative effort is another adaptation that is necessary to win and ultimately survive. The dragonfly’s compound eyes provide a helpful analogy for clear and complete vision, which I refer to as the “big picture.”
Collaboration allows for or even encourages individual points of view to create a full and complete vision.
Organizational vision utilizes past experiences along with the constant presence of ideals to establish goals, dreams, and ideas for where it goes in the future. This vision helps to direct an organization’s aspirations.
Every piece of the big picture adds to the greater vision. I believe that if everyone’s aspirations for the future remain scattered, the organization will be without a defined aim. Even if the big picture is somewhat pieced together, the few missing pieces could be the ones that identify the biggest threats. An organization must have a clear and direct vision if they wish to survive.
Just as every team uses their vision to win a single game, they also look at the overall vision, the big picture, such as winning the Super Bowl, the World Series, or an Olympic medal. To get to the overall vision, small steps need to be taken. Achievable steps on the way to the ultimate goal serve to motivate group members and maintain their sense of accomplishment. If the group were to set its sights only on the ultimate objective and stumble along the way, members often become discouraged and could even abandon the project before seeing any rewards. With smaller goals at various intervals, collaborators can identify opportunities, see where the mission is going and find satisfaction in even small victories.
Vision is explained best by Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, “When different points of view and multiple interests are involved in solving a problem or making a decision, the solution is likely to be much more comprehensive and creative than if a small group of like-minded individuals acted on its own.” We at ICOSA have had many success stories since our inaugural issue, due in part to working in collaborative environments and looking at the overall vision. Yet, we are always evaluating the design of our big picture, so that we are agile in ever-changing situations, open to seeing things in a new way, and constantly proving that we can move forward so that we don’t have to move back.
You will find that many, if not all of the individuals, highlighted in the following stories had drive to achieve a greater purpose, to succeed, and to win. Along the way they used small steps to accomplish these goals and formed new methods to attain their overall vision. We invite you to read the stories of some of these great sports collaborators and understand how the pieces of their lives have come together to form their big picture.