VMCL Primer

VMCL - Vision, Mission, Capacity, and Learning: The Four Functions of Systems Leadership

VMCL represents the four functions of organizations that leaders can use to better design, manage, and bring about cultural change in any organization. VMCL is an acronym that stands for: Vision, Mission, Capacity, and Learning. Vision is the long term goal of the organization, or desired future state the organization hopes to bring about. An organization's Mission articulates the repeated actions (or daily work) needed to achieve the vision. Capacity refers to the readiness of an organization's systems to carry out its mission. The organization also needs to grow by accepting feedback from the external environment, which is how it learns. The crux of VMCL theory is how these four terms are defined by their requisite "litmus checks." Importantly, vision, mission, capacity, and learning should align with each other such that they mutually reinforce one another. In other words, learning must build capacity to do mission which will accomplish the vision. (See the animation in Figure 1 below)


Figure 1: VMCL Dynamics

Learning is driven by the ST Loop which involves increasing alignment between mental models and reality (See the animation in Figure 2 below). 


Figure 2: ST Loop Drives Learning

This is important because it demonstrates the deep linkage between DSRP (Systems Thinking) and VMCL (Systems Leadership) (See Figure 3 below).

Screen Shot 2020-06-09 at 6.36.37 PM

Figure 3: DSRP drives VMCL

Get Started with VMCL 

1. Watch the video: VMCL Amoeba

2. Read  The Four Simple Rules of Organization  and Systems Thinking in 7 images

3. The definitions of VMCL as listed in the CRL Glossary :

a. Vision (V);
b. Mission (M);

c. Capacity (C);

d. Learning (L);

The best source for developing a deep understanding of VMCL is the book: đŸ“˜Cabrera, D. & Cabrera, L. (2018) Flock Not Clock: Design, Align, and Lead to Achieve Your Vision. Plectica Publications. Ithaca, NY.


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