Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way
By John Redmond
On the first anniversary of Foundation Day, Sam Nagasaka, project manager of the Vision 2020 Project of FFWPU International, presented in Today’s World a strategic planning document. It describes a process that each nation and city can follow to align their efforts with the current highest providential priority. Mr. Nagasaka (UTS class of 2000) served as a vice president for PR and marketing with World CARP International HQ and was part of the strategic task force team of Japan FFWPU HQ.
His document represents a significant change in the way strategic activities are developed in the movement. Reverend Moon closely controlled strategic and tactical planning, seeking to move quickly and decisively, planning battles like a general, with short timelines and sacrificing long-term goals for short-term wins. Based on his successful foundation, the shift to building and maintaining the movement for long-term effectiveness requires a different approach.
Mrs. Hak Ja Han Moon has set large general goals, but expects the central blessed families to take the time and make the effort to plan and execute strategies and tactics for success in the areas of their local and national responsibilities. Headquarters can’t effectively decide what your community does best and how to make a community that attracts young families; only those who know the local area and culture can be successful at that.
According to Sam’s article, the ultimate goal of the 2020 project is to create Cheon Il Guk, which means “Nation of Peace.” This does not necessarily mean making everyone in the nation a church member, controlling political power or expecting a “Pentecost” to convert many people. It means to restore a nation or state’s culture and practice (sovereignty) to its original ideal under God.
This will not happen by magic, but requires long-term planning with “milestones” and ways of honestly measuring progress. It also means that progress will happen on multiple fronts in a balanced progression, not just in a single all-consuming campaign. It requires a good public relations sense and integrity, so when reporters look behind the scenes they don’t see anything different than what is out front.
My evaluation of some significant findings from Sam’s article:
Phased Development. The planning process allows for mid-term (seven years) and long-term (more than seven years) goals. Frankly, after 40 years of 21, 40 and 120 day conditions, this seems a hugely luxurious and relaxing amount of time. Of course, we aren’t just trying to fill an auditorium for a speech — we are creating long-term, sustainable, authentic cultural change toward Unification values. This is a hard mental adjustment for older members who have spent most of their life in “emergency mode.” Planning for long-term success without losing focus may be too difficult for them. A new generation of younger leaders with long-term thinking are probably needed.
Investment in People. No longer is it universally desirable to sacrifice your education or business foundation for the moment. In order to move a nation it requires a network of people who are respected in their fields and share a vision of an ideal country. This does not happen by good luck. It requires hard work and dedication to rise to the top of your chosen field and still live the universal values of the Principle. This may require professional training from companies like Franklin Covey or Fred Pryor. When a corporation wants to change its culture it always includes effective training in the planning.
Organizational Integrity. In the Internet age, there is no distance between the public image of a group and the way it operates. In the past, we made many decisions to gain short-term results that damaged our reputation and integrity. These are not generally necessary and should be minimized. Practices viewed as deceptive, legal shortcuts or hypocrisy, corruption or incompetence in the leadership should be dealt with quietly and conclusively before it becomes public.
Professionalism and excellence. Many times our movement leaders have been chosen on the basis of loyalty or obedience. Leaders must now excel as well in the professional standards of the secular world. We cannot achieve a natural surrender to our values without winning the respect of the people we would influence. Additionally, in building for the long-term, members should make the effort to invest in nice facilities, keep them clean and well-maintained and when possible build and invest toward the future.
Organizational Sophistication (Stages of Social Engagement). In America, we started out as the “Unified Family,” where everyone knew everyone else and shared a culture and vision. We moved to the tribal level with strong, personality-based leaders. Now we need systemic organization, clarity of goals, transparency, accountability, collective intelligence and shared decision-making. Most of our successful businesses and organizations are already at this level; they know they cannot succeed unless they are.
These kind of modern business and professional behaviors also belong in our church. Very young workers can be expected to “just obey,” but after six months, members who don’t think for themselves, understand and integrate are less and less valuable in any organization.
Levels of power, money and influence in a national culture.
At the “Survival” level, we are able to legally raise funds, internally organize and communicate. Most Western nations are there, many Islamic and former Soviet countries are behind with these basic rights and members are isolated and unable to organize.
At the “Accepted” level we have the same civil rights as others and are not persecuted by the government. Japan is almost there, America and South Korea are now and some European countries are questionable.
When we are “Respected” we will be recognized by non-members for our contributions to the social good. Nepal seems to be one of the few countries where we currently have that level of impact. Some states in America feel Unification influence, but most do not.
Eventually, we will be “Expected” at all significant social engagements as a constructive partner. This level is where we are always asked for an opinion and if we will support different ideas. The Washington Times has that kind of influence in conservative circles in Washington, DC, but nowhere else in the movement that I am aware of.
When we have “Sovereignty,” many of our policy recommendations will become policy or law. My favorite would be to enact a law that increases welfare benefits for intact families and decreases it for single parents. I think that alone would significantly slow the sliding cultural values in America.
Read the full 8-page article by Sam Nagasaka from Today’s World.
Self-evaluation. This is where it gets difficult: Every organization needs to focus on its real situation in order to grow and prosper. All organizations veer between blind optimism with magical thinking and harsh negativity that kills the spirit and hope.
For Americans, I think our level is somewhere between Accepted and Respected. We get credit for surviving 40 years and having some of our children willing to live the Unification ideals. Many of our members have achieved personal success and respect, including respected state legislators and businessmen. Many of our second generation are well on their way to individual and family-level success. Our American movement, with the right selection of public activities, can move to a new level of influence and success.
In terms of our organizational sophistication, our American movement is stuck somewhere between tribalism, with strong opinionated leaders, and systemic organization. Currently, national policy and planning is still done with a small group at headquarters, although there is a cosmetic national advisory council in the works.
The myopia of this type of management is damaging to the movement as demonstrated by strong personality types leading the movement down dead ends or into smash-ups. One problem is we have not demonstrated healthy organizational behavior in other sectors of our movement either, so there is not a pool of successful managers to model shared decision-making or collective intelligence.
One hope for the future is professionally trained second generation Unificationists with their corporate experience. They are often better trained and more experienced than their parents in these types of decision-making activities and make better board members than their elders.
In conclusion, Mr. Nagasaka’s strategic planning document provides a breath of fresh air and hope. Faith is a good thing, but many of us have suspended our judgment and experience to blindly hope that God is working, when clearly God was hoping to work through us.
This signifies a watershed change in the way our movement will operate in the future. This alone cannot create the types of organizations that we, and more importantly our children, can be proud of, but it points the way toward how we can build them.
The real work is ahead of us and there is plenty to do locally. There is no need to wait for headquarters. Local organizations can become effective and attractive by using this template.♦
John Redmond is CFO of UTS. He is the proud father of four interesting children, and has high expectations for the American Unification movement.