Tilting at windmills
Despite being championed/cynically exploited by three Governors and a whole host of political leaders, Vision Shared has not been very successful. Why?
- The first problem, I daresay, is with Vision Shared’s mission: “To bridge social, political and economic gaps by BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER to confront the issues and needs facing West Virginia.” I realize that bringing people together, which is better known as event planning or party planning to the uninitiated, can be quite an accomplishment, but it is hardly a “meaningful” accomplishment for an organization in existence for almost a decade. During my eight years working in government, I quickly learned that the problem with getting things done rarely is that key stakeholders don’t meet – the public policy world is filled with party planners. Rather it was that no one ever does much of anything after being brought together. An organization that makes bringing people together its primary mission is destined to fail at accomplishing much of anything else, regardless of whom it brings together.
- The second problem, I daresay, is with Vision Shared’s goal: “To strengthen the economy, reshape communities, promote progressive government and improve the quality of life for all West Virginians.” No organization can be all things to all people – and certainly not with a $600,000 annual budget.