How to Share the Vision and the Plan with a Business-Building Community

Goals, Dreams, Visions, and Plans

Raising a barn is a spectacular goal. Getting a community to help makes it easier and harder. It’s important not to confuse goals with dreams.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery,
author of The Little Prince, said that.

Char Polanosky explains what that means.

To raise a barn or build a business with a community is a social collaboration. It competes with all of the other wonderful and pressing things in their lives. To capture their time and attention, we have to offer something that is smart, compelling, and easily fit into their lives — irresistible.

Share the Vision and the Plan

When the time comes to build, we’re not going to find a community who magically knows what to build and where to put their skills to work. A critical stage in social leadership is being ready for the community when they’re ready to help.

We have to be able to explain — what we’re building and what roles they might play.

Share the Vision

We gotta know the vision before we can share it. The vision has to be clear from the minute they arrive. We need to be able to articulate

  • what we’re building — what the parts are
    and how the parts fit together to make a whole.
  • how that whole will be useful and who will use it.
  • how that whole with make that real people’s lives
    better, faster, and more meaningful.
  • how you’ll reach the people who will use it.
  • how you know they will.

Seeing the vision gives a community a reason to do the work.

Share the Plan

We gotta have a plan before the work can start. The value of the work also needs to be shiningly apparent. We need to be able to communicate without hesitation a clear business plan that offers:

  • easily understood standards of quality
  • simple budget rules or a stated source of materials
  • a realistic schedule with an end date for their commitment
  • a clear description of job roles for volunteers

Knowing the plan offers security that the work will be time well spent.

The vision and the plan let the community see what we will be creating. The vision and the plan give us the confidence on which a community can plant their trust, energy, thought, and emotion. On the vision and the plan, we align our ideas and ideals — we agree on the work to be done.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery also said,
Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it.

Have you ever helped someone build a dream? What did you need before you invested?

–ME “Liz” Strauss
Want to build barn? Work with Liz!!
Image: NASA Image Exchange


  1. says

    These last three posts were exactly what I needed to read. Liz, thank you for making these things suddenly and finally obvious to me. What good is a vision without a plan, and why not enlist the willing help of community? We’ve seen it through out the entire history of society, so why should Web 2.0 21st century living be any different?

  2. says


    I need at least two “intuitive indicators”:

    I need to be able to say to myself: “This person will become a mentor to me! I have a lot to give, AND a lot to gain through this experience. We will grow together”

    Over ten years ago, I helped a friend start a media company. When first met, I intuitively sensed that he would be a mentor to me.

    The second “intuitive indicator” for me is feeling that “This person is doing something right, good and just!”


  3. says

    Thanks, Liz. Every post is making this idea clearer for me. Thanks.

    Now I’m thinking, how can I do this on a small scale in my own business? I’m thinking, what can I do that will be useful to those who participate, and will also be useful to my business? I see what you mean… you gotta really think.

  4. says

    a plan put on paper and let everyone know about it who can help. This creates the reality of doing it. You can’t ignore it (well, it’s difficult to do when it you have to let people down to do it). I have often created an idea and got people on board but did not execute it. It left me feeling disappointed in myself b/c the next time i asked they are going to be hesitant in coming along. The leader must be determined to do it with or with out support and but be disciplined to keep the motivation and the support from the crowd. thanks liz.

  5. says

    Hey Adam,
    So nice to see you here. Glad to know that these posts are hitting the sweet spot for you. Yeah, that’s just what I mean. I knew we connected when we talked. Like minds.

  6. says

    I see that in everything you do on the internet. You live your values. That’s so inspiring. It would bring a community right up to any project you’d ask for help with.

  7. says


    In my view, the steps you mention above sound like a common sense approach toward any new project, particularly those with a considerable degree of scope.

    Let me pick up on one point.

    You mentioned the importance of not confusing goals with dreams. In my view, dreams are two different concepts, both of which have value and both of which are essential for success in any area of life.

    Take your barn example. Your dream is what your vision of what will occur when the barn will be complete – people singing, dancing and having a good time.

    Dreams are the reason, the inspiration, behind any project of significant scope.

    Goals, in my view are a series of short, medium and long term measurable targets which must be reached if the dream is to be realized. Unlike dreams, which provide inspiration, goals provide specific road maps and focus points by which the project can be guided.

  8. says


    Thanks for the kudos. I wish I could frame my SOB Award… do you have a hi-res image?

    Collaboration for social good has been leveraged exponentially with social media. I am slowly but surely building relationships with like-minded folks. I envision a project naturally blossoming from those relationships.


  9. says

    Hi Andrew!
    I have lots of room for just the kind of dreams you describe and the way you describe them suits me too. The inspiration of a dream needs to be grounded in goals for the dream to take hold and grow. Thank you for saying it far better than I ever could. :)

  10. says

    I’ll send you the highest res file I have. The original from the designer. I’m not sure it will do the trick.

    I think you’re making relationships a lot faster and having a huger impact than you might realize. :)

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