Fill my eyes, with that double vision
No disguise for that double vision
That's an excerpt from the Foreigner hit "Double Vision" and it could also be symbolic of the seeming disconnect that has recently been confirmed concerning the vision Hamilton professes to follow, and the interpretation, or lack thereof, of that very vision by our municipal council.
For some who may have missed this piece, The Hamiltonian asked our Perspectives Virtual Panel, and our Mayor and each individual city councillor, for their view on what we can do to accelerate the attainment of our vision to be , amongst other things, The Best Place to Raise a Child. The Virtual Panel stepped up and provided thoughts on what we should start doing, stop doing and continue doing to accelerate our progress. Surprisingly, and disappointingly, only Mayor Bratina, and Clrs. Merulla and McHattie chose to share their views.
An organization's vision statement identifies a desired end state that the organization aspires to- ordinarily in
consultation with and validated by a broader stakeholder group. It serves as an essential and important point of reference going forward, to ensure that plans, policies, resources, partnerships, and any other instruments and means available to the organization are aligned and continue to be aligned toward the attainment of the vision. The vision is ordinarily ambitious and assumes short, medium and longer term strides. It also demands a commitment to its achievement over the short, medium and longer term.
It's not just a collection of words. Words that make up a vision statement, are meaningful and as such, lend themselves to, and require further definition. That further definition, promotes consensus and understanding as to what the vision really means and what it entails. With that, targets (metrics and other measurement modalities) can be attached to each component of the vision. Those targets, ordinarily negotiated in the course of good governance between the directing minds of the organization (in this case, City Council), and the bureaucracy, as led by the City Manager, form the impetus for strategies and tactics to be developed, designed and aligned to target achievement. Targets are ordinarily seated in increments of time, and progress toward those targets is routinely measured and reviewed.
Public reporting should be a natural component as well. The focus is on continuous learning, continuous improvement, in course adjustments to strategies, lessons learned and re-calibration/optimization of approaches in order to optimize achievement of targets.
The cycle continues and refinements are made based on evidence and regression analysis. Decomposing the vision statement into components and further embedding targets into aspects of performance management plans/contracts that cascade from the City Manager through to the front line staffers, results in traceability of efforts to achieve the vision, from efforts on the ground and throughout the hierarchy. Just as importantly, it drives results that are recognizable, expected and that serve as clear evidence of progress toward the vision. It serves as an example for all stakeholders, that demonstrates that the the organization is, in fact, serious about its vision. That articulation also provides essential context by which business and other entities consider their fit when operating within Hamilton.
The Hamiltonian, the Perspectives Virtual panel and others who contributed toward this topic, were understandably dissapointed over the lack of participation of the majority of city council. It is truly worrisome that the majority of our elected council, many of which were in place when the vision was created, are unwilling or unable to enunciate their interpretation of the vision and perhaps speak about the efforts of council to lead.
I stated that it was in bad form for the majority of council not to participate in this discussion. My view remains unchanged.
What remains is a double vision- the first is the public face of the vision- the one that is often quoted, referenced and touted and that many still believe in or, want to believe in. The other is the version that is left to chance, misinterpretation, lack of definition or proper anchoring and, in the end, whatever our directing minds (councillors) individually believe it to be.
Teresa DiFalco, Publisher, The Hamiltonian
No disguise for that double vision