The first is for each group member briefly to complete the sentence, "The purpose of (name of organization) is…."
After everyone has completed the statement, each in turn reads his or her statement to the group, and the statements are recorded verbatim on newsprint, allowing the entire group to hear and read what each persons says. This enables the group to observe similarities and differences in emphasis and perception. It is these subtle differences that will enrich the discussion that follows. It is also important that the group be sensitive to any incongruities, though it is likely that the statements will be quite consistent. All the information gathered in this way can be seen as providing a very rough draft of ideas, and it will probably not be difficult to combine most of the statements into a brief and consistent understanding of the mission. It is not necessary to do this editing in the group at this time, only to get a sense of the group members' togetherness or differences.
The next task is for each person to write down several factors the organization has going for it that will enhance and promote the pursuit of the mission. These factors can be called the resource areas of the organization. After several minutes all of the ideas recorded are shared, written on the newsprint, and posted. Group members are then asked to expand the resulting list. Further probing will help to identify as many of the organization's strengths as possible in a discussion that helps to set a positive tone and encourages recognition of the driving forces behind the organization.
This time each person is asked to write down those factors at work within the organization which might tend to inhibit or stand in the way of the pursuit of the mission. These can be seen as the organization's growth areas. Again, these ideas are shared with the group and posted on newsprint. After all the ideas have been posted, and the list expanded to everyone's satisfaction, it is useful to ask the group members to review the list and see if one or two items stand out and have the quality that, if they were addressed effectively, they would have a ripple effect and greatly enhance the ability of the organization to pursue its mission.
It can be readily observed that the health of an organization is directly related to its willingness and ability to work on these key growth areas constructively and to remove roadblocks that might stand in the way of pursuing the mission and effectively implementing new program design.
Source: The Technology of Prevention Workbook, William A. Lofquist