acknowledge contributions, develop shared visions, do systems think-
ing, see empowerment as the key to success, provide for and reward
collaborations, and celebrate often. Shouldn’t these concepts be filling
our literature, conferences, and professional development seminars?
The corporate world has created a vision and mobilized a workforce
around a strong sense of purpose, ultimately to enhance profit mar-
gins. What are equivalent actions we can use to become powerful in
the world?
One voice in the field, Child Care Information Exchange, has
consistently tried to bring the lessons of the business world to the
field of early childhood care and education. As early as 1987 they fea-
tured an article by a business management consultant alerting us to
the way organizations become powerful. Here’s a taste of what Susan
Gross has to say in her article “The Power of Purpose” (1987, 25–26):
What we mean by purpose is the end or result at which an
entire organization is aimed. Purpose is the organization’s
driving force and reason for being. It is always translatable
into vision—that is, an image shared by the organization of
what the world or society or an environment or community
would look like if that purpose were realized.

For early childhood programs, Gross is describing something
different from uniting a center around the self-study for NAEYC ac-
creditation, as important and rewarding as that might be. She is sug-
gesting using our imaginations, not our checklists, to define dreams
that linger with us as we move through our days of stress, chores,
meetings, and to-do lists. Her point has to do with how we cultivate
our hearts, make connections with other people, and create a desire
to reach for something better. Gross goes on (25):
The most potent ingredient in organizational effectiveness
is a clear sense of purpose shared by every member of the
organization. Organizational problems, including nasty
interpersonal conflicts and wrenching internal schisms, can
literally begin to dissolve when people in an organization
rediscover the depth of their common vision.

Susan Gross and other people in the business world are re-
minding us that vision is central to organizational effectiveness.

Another business management consultant, Peter Senge, in his seminal
book about systems thinking and learning organizations, The Fifth
Chapter 1 Guiding Your Program with a Vision 27