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If a group wants to achieve something together, they need to agree about the goals they want to reach. That could sound trivial – and yet such an important issue is often neglected. What are successful ways to identify these shared goals? How to come to a clear definition of the shared intention? How to include everybody in defining the goals, to increase ownership? Here some of the methods used in CLIPS to develop awareness about the shared intention.
Consciously shared intention (where the group wants to go) is one of basic pillars in the majority of group projects. Setting, developing and maintaining such intention requires both initial effort and continuous attention later on. This ensures good “journey” and serves as a measure of goals being reached. Intentions in group projects can be subtle (spiritual) or practical (material).
Intentions define which people will be included and which excluded, based on their personal motivations. This is natural, since each project embodies certain core characteristics (for example how close the community is, whether animals are allowed, what is the policy on meat-eating, etc.), that is the filter determining what kind of people the project attracts and how much they identify with the project.
When talking about various aspects and processes that have to do with intention the first layer is personal intention to join (or start) a project. Personal intention influences individual contributions to the group. It is usually about meeting personal needs and desires, per example for friendship, meaningful work, a change of living conditions, healing wounds from past relationships, etc. Personal intentions actually open up opportunities for community-building, which is often insufficiently acknowledged.
The second layer has to do with shared, community-oriented intentions. This layer is often expressed as vision, mission and goals. Besides these three concepts many others are used by various groups such as: aims, values, objectives. Clear intentions bring a clear message to potential allies, members, partners, donors, etc., and are helping to understand what the project is actually about.
The intention further defines the positioning of the project in the society. How is the project seen in relation to the surrounding society? Successful projects are generally built through alliances with various stakeholders, both with like-minded projects and with diverse individuals, groups and institutions.
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