Several years ago I lived on the eastern shore of Maryland. In the early morning, it is an area that is prone to heavy fog. On those mornings as I drove to work I would find myself turning the radio off, leaning forward, and clenching my jaw. A fifteen minute drive could take up to an hour. Being able to see just a few feet in front of me was stressful and slowed me down. Such is the case for an organization without a vision.
Organizations that enjoy enduring success have core values and a shared vision that remain fixed, even as as their goals and strategies adapt to a changing marketplace. Truly great companies understand the difference between what should never change and what should be open for change.
Often, there is a great deal of confusion about the role vision plays, with people using it to describe everything from exhilarating goals to its reason for being. And the converse is true. Organizations without vision are draining, exhausting, and will eventually drive high potential talent out the door.
So to put it very simply, vision is a combination of what we stand for and what we aspire to become.