The ‘big picture’
Over the past year or so in Framework, we have been spending time to develop ourselves as a collective of independent consultants. We’ve produced a vision for Framework in the world (our internal vision); confirmed our ‘portfolio’ of services; identified three ‘themes’ for how we approach our work; and are clarifying our understanding on our relationships with others etc. Alongside this, we’ve embarked upon the production of an externally-oriented Theory of Change for our work as consultants focused on organisational strengthening.
But I was increasingly feeling uncomfortable – I needed to ‘see’ how the different initiatives fitted together. Some kind of visual illustration of the connections between the ‘internal’ and the ‘external’ visions, and all that lay within each of these. It was almost a physical yearning…without it I felt tense and experienced a sense of fragmentation. It was a familiar feeling – one that urges me to attempt some kind of schematic drawing of how different parts relate to each other. The drawing often doesn’t mean much to others, but it helps me at both the conceptual and physical levels – it alleviates the tension.
The train journey up to the Framework retreat gave me a moment to focus on this need for a ‘big picture’. We were going to have several sessions devoted to the different initiatives on to our internal development and our work on the Theory of Change. The retreat itself is the ideal opportunity to share ideas and feelings with colleagues, and so as I was sketching out a first attempt to visualise the connections, I felt comfortable about sharing this tentative effort.
It is ‘work in progress’ – a messy visual map of our own collective attempt to strengthen our understanding of ourselves and our work. That messiness may clarify itself over time and the map may be cleaned up and used by us in all sorts of ways. Then again, it may not. Either way, I personally feel that physical yearning for the big picture has been satisfied for the time being.