A Shared Vision

5 Steps to Creating and Maintaining It

By NAfME Member Dr. Lori Schwartz Reichl

“People working together in a strong community with a shared goal and a common purpose can make the impossible possible.”—Tom Vilsack

We often approach the new year as a time to refresh our vision and make key changes. Our process often includes reflecting on the previous year, considering what we want to add, modify, or eliminate, and making resolutions to be better and achieve more. These resolutions can either be individual or collective. A resolution can be defined as “a firm decision to do or not do something” or “the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc.” What steps do we put in place to create and maintain these possible resolutions?

The Data about Resolutions

According to Richard Batts, an instructional design coordinator for the Fisher Leadership Initiative of The Ohio State University, “Researchers suggest that only 9% of Americans that make resolutions complete them. In fact, research goes on to show that 23% of people quit their resolutions by the end of the first week, and 43% quit by the end of January.”

In a recent article written by Dr. Cynthia Vinney and reviewed by Dr. Sabrina Ramonoff titled, “The Psychology Behind Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail,” Vinney questions why we are not more successful at keeping our New Year’s resolutions. “Some reasons,” she says, “include the idea that we’re thinking too big, we’re not considering the ‘why’ behind them, and the fact that we may not be ready for change.” Could our intended change be too big for one person? Could others assist us with understanding the “why” behind our resolution? With the assistance of others, could we better prepare for the change? The goal of keeping resolutions may be as simple as including others in the process.

The Need for Support

Making key changes can be difficult. Support is often needed to make lasting change personally and professionally. As we consider changing our story, let us consider who else is included in this evolving story and how they are involved. This can be applied to any responsibility where we collaborate with others, such as our family or within a company, team, classroom, or ensemble. It is essential that we include those we love, serve, and lead in this vision. This collaboration may allow us to create and maintain a shared vision where all contributors feel heard, seen, and understood. In doing so, these changes may be made with greater confidence, care, and significance.

A vision is defined as the “ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.” With input from others, a vision may include greater creativity and knowledge. Through this partnership, we may be better able to keep our resolutions for more than a week, a month, or even a year. Consider how creating and maintaining a shared vision that includes and values all contributors may make a greater impact.

coworkers at board with post-it notes and one with a mobile phone

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

Prioritizing People

In last month’s article titled, “Prioritizing People: Confront and Conquer Burnout Together,” I discussed the components, signs, and stages of burnout. One component of burnout is cynicism. It can occur when there is a lack of participation in decision-making. If others are not included in the creation of the new vision, they may feel as though there is no purpose to it. By making key changes together, there is a greater chance of maintaining a shared vision.

Steps to Achieve the Vision

Consider these 5 key steps to create and maintain a shared vision:

  1. Recognize
    Understand that you, your loved one, student, colleague, or employee are all an intricate part of the story.
  1. Reflect
    Think about what changes you may like to make to this story. Consider how these changes may impact others.
  1. Include
    Allow others to be included in the thought process and decision-making. Share your ideas and concerns, and in return, allow others to share theirs. Ensure that others’ goals, skills, and interests assist with the creativity and knowledge of the shared vision.
  1. Follow-Up
    Inquire with others as time passes to ensure they remain included in the vision. Ask if they have any suggestions to alter it.
  1. Show Gratitude
    Let others know they are appreciated—often. Thank them for their contributions to the vision.

Planning for Possibility

Who said a resolution has to have been made on January 1?! The new year is still fresh! There’s plenty of time to refresh the vision!

A famous Mary Poppins quote is, “Everything is possible, even the impossible.” Are we beginning this new year with energy, excitement, and . . .possibility? Are we partnering with others for our greatest potential? Allow a shared vision to emerge . . . ​​in a most delightful way!

About the author:

Lori Schwartz Reichl Portrait

Photo: Richard Twigg Photography

NAfME member Dr. Lori Schwartz Reichl is the visionary thought leader of Making Key Changes. Her career began in music education where she learned the importance of a key changea shift in the tonal center of a piece of music, often used to inject energy or produce significance. She eventually realized the necessity and impact of making key changes in all areas of her life.

Since transitioning out of one classroom as a public school educator, Dr. Reichl has uniquely created a global classroom for her essential work. She guides organizations, teams, and individuals to create and maintain a shared vision by making key changes in their communities, companies, classrooms, and careers by unlocking their greatest potential in collaboration with those they love, serve, and lead.

Learn more MakingKeyChanges.com. Subscribe to Dr. Reichl’s Making Key Changes newsletter.

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The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

January 9, 2024


  • Music Education Profession
  • Teacher Self Care


January 9, 2024. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)

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