Wondering about Vision? Whether you need it? What is it? How to get one? Plan to make some time if you search it on Google. You will find thousands of articles playing out every nuance. Let’s see what metaphors I found:
Vision Is Not The Roadmap, It's The Reason For Having The Map In The First Place
And another map...
Imagine asking MapQuest to give you directions but not plugging in your desired destination.
Vision is the frosting on the cake. Hmmm, that’s not so bad (probably because I made it up). Vision should be sweet, tasty and leave you wanting more…it should also affect each person it touches in a slightly different manner - like trying to describe the taste of frosting. Ok. Enough already. Let's accept that vision is this kind of sort of thing all orgs need but is tough to pin down.
In three additional contrasting articles, like the links above, I first agree with each author’s acceptance that vision is an essential element of success. They diverge on where vision sits along the scale of fuzzy to sharp.
As an advocate for deliberate creativity I most always see value in fuzziness. When to move a vision from fuzzy to sharp is context dependent, as illustrated in the following examples.
Leadership expert, Michael Hyatt, suggests that a vision needs to be crystal clear as it gets presented to a workplace team at the beginning of implementation.
Kary Zate uses Steve Job’s vision for Apple, Think Different, to show vision as a fuzzier touchstone.
In Hyatt’s case he was correct in making his vision a clear set of objectives - as the context was turning around an already existing fully functioning publishing unit. The case with Jobs and Newharth was them leading a work force to create something brand new and game-changing.
I would suggest that even Hyatt’s vision had a bit of fuzziness with his answer to, “How in the world are you going to accomplish this?”. He would just smile and say, “I’m not sure, but I am confident it is going to happen. Just watch.”
Mayo adds: “Great business leaders need to walk the fine line between capitalizing on the opportunities that are ripe for the present context and planning for a possible future state. Though context is very important for laying the foundation for success, leaders are not mere pawns. Leaders like Neuharth can and do shape the parameters for success through a vision for a future. And, just as important, they possess the ability to oversee that vision’s implementation.”
Vision, properly articulated and taking into account the context of the environment within and outside the organization or project, becomes an essential cynosure aiding leaders and team members alike in reaching a desired future state.