System exChange
The System exChange provides powerful tips and ideas for transforming your local community.
The last issue of the System exChange highlighted several strategies for using a community systems approach in your community.  Click here for this last issue.

This week's System exChange introduces the concept of a shared vision and provides a series of tools and resources to help your local effort. 
What is a Shared Vision?
Do change efforts in your community sometimes struggle to find common ground?

Are local initiatives often overlapping - or even conflicting with each other?

A Shared Vision can help. A Shared Vision provides direction for local efforts, inspires individuals to get engaged, and aligns the energies of diverse individuals and organizations around a common set of goals (Kania & Kramer, 2011; Martin, 2014). 

An effective Shared Vision describes:
  • WHAT changes the community wants to bring about 
  • WHICH INEQUITIES are related to these goals 
  • WHY these goals are not yet in place 
  • HOW desired changes can come about 

A Shared Vision is driven by the voices and perspectives of people across the community - including individuals experiencing local inequities. There are many ways to engage people in a shared visioning process.  
Check out the Shared Vision Video Series

Watch and share these videos:

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get access to our newest videos! 
How one community summarized their Shared Vision into a visual.
F acilitation process for engaging stakeholders in creating a Shared Vision.

How can a Shared Vision promote community change?
Why is developing a Shared Vision so important for community change?

A Shared Vision can help your community...
Raise Critical Consciousness
A visioning process can increase people’s critical consciousness about the conditions influencing local problems and inequities, and help them become more motivated to change these conditions (Fear, Rosaen, Bawden, & Foster-Fishman, 2006).
Develop Shared Outcomes
A Shared Vision can help communities develop shared outcomes and a shared measurement system (e.g., dashboard) to guide local change efforts and promote mutually accountability for the collective work.

Design and Align Diverse Strategies  
Shared Visions can help communities design and align a diverse range of strategies (across multiple ecological layers) to address the root causes of local problems and inequities.
Promote Action
Shared Visions can reduce ambiguity around what to take action on and clarify what roles people can take to support the change (Woolf, 2017). This clarity and awareness is essential to promote local action.

NOTE: Collective action is more likely to occur when diverse stakeholders are engaged in developing the Shared Vision. 

How can you build local buy-in around a Shared Vision?
We know that community change is more likely to happen when people across diverse sectors (e.g., health, education, employment, faith-based, etc.) and roles (e.g., leaders, direct care staff, residents) adopt and support a Shared Vision (ORS Impact & Spark Policy Institute, 2018). 

So how do you bring all these different people around a Shared Vision?

Successful change efforts use a variety of strategies to “get the message out” about their Shared Vision and communicate how people can support it, such as using: 

  • Multiple Communication Channels – such as word of mouth, presentations, printed materials (e.g., posters, billboards), media outlets (e.g., PSAs on radio and TV, newspaper articles), web-based information, and social media outlets (Rogers, 2003) 

  • Social Marketing – including commercial marketing strategies to influence people’s mindsets, expectations, and ultimately their behaviors (Perese, Bellringer, & Abbot, 2005).  

  • Opinion Leaders or Champions – such as people (leaders, staff, or community members) or organizations who are perceived as influential, credible, popular, relate-able, and accessible. These champions take action by encouraging others to support the shared vision (Dearing, 2009). 
Access a planning tool designed to help groups use communication strategies and social marketing to talk about equity. 
Additional tips for building buy-in around your Shared Vision:
People are more likely to support your Shared Vision if they believe it is necessary, beneficial , and feasible.

Figure out who (e.g. leaders, staff, funders, policy maker, residents, etc.) needs to support your Shared Vision by adopting new mindsets, expectations, and/or behaviors. Then create communications to help these people see the Shared Vision as necessary, beneficial, and feasible.

Here are some example talking points you can adapt for your community:

  • Necessary: Our community needs to work more collectively to improve local outcomes - the Shared Vision can help by bringing people and groups together around a shared set of change goals.

  • Beneficial: The Shared Vision will directly benefit you (by clarifying new roles you can take to support community change), your organization (by creating new ways to partner with other local efforts around shared goals), and the broader community (by aligning local efforts to create a bigger impact)

  • Feasible: It is easy to support the Shared Vision..
  • Individuals can advocate for the Shared Vision goals (e.g., through conversations, letters to the editor, social media), participate in community organizing efforts, and vote for supportive policies.
  • Organization and collaborative can include Shared Vision goals to guide their strategic planning, grant writing, staff hiring, client referrals, and/or program design processes.
  • Funders can add a focus on the Shared Vision goals into their funding expectations and track relevant community-level outcomes.
  • Policy makers can draft and approve policies and funding decisions supporting the Shared Vision goals.

Consider what language you can use to help people adopt these beliefs, and think about who is the best messenger to deliver the messages. 

Adapted from Holt, Armenakis, Field, & Harris, 2007

CHIR Connection
Reach out to your local CHIR to share ideas and take action to develop and communicate a Shared Vision in your region.
Join CHIRs across the state in discussing these ideas on

Current Discussion Topic:
How have you promoted local buy-in around your Shared Vision?
Q & A

Q: We recently engaged a group of 40 local stakeholders in creating a Shared Vision for our efforts. We now want to engage others in the visioning process as well – including local residents. What should we do? 

A: There are many ways you can engage additional stakeholders in your visioning process. Think about upcoming meetings where you could ask some visioning questions (see the example visioning process tool above) to get additional perspectives, and then integrate these ideas into the initial Shared Vision your group started. You could also share the Shared Vision in one-on-one conversations with individuals to build their buy-in and get their ideas on what else to add (this approach is especially effective with high level leaders).  

Submit your questions on the Contact Us page of the the MICHIRLearning website .
If you find this publication useful, forward to your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe !

Want access to more information about community transformation? Check out the Michigan CHIR Learning website ! This website includes information, tools, and resources to help support local collaborative efforts.

October 2019
Have an idea for a future ABLe exChange? Email us at:
Holt, D. T., Armenakis, A. A., Feild, H. S., & Harris, S. G. (2007). Readiness for organizational change: The systematic development of a scale. The Journal of applied behavioral science, 43(2), 232-255.

Kania, J., & Kramer, M. (2011). Collective impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 9(1), 36-41.

Martin, J., McCormack, B., Fitzsimons, D., & Spirig, R. (2014). The importance of inspiring a shared vision. International Practice Development Journal, 4(2).

ORS Impact & Spark Policy Institute (2018). When Collective Impact has an Impact. Retrieved from 

Woolf, S. H. (2017). Progress in achieving health equity requires attention to root causes. Health Affairs, 36(6), 984-991.