The bible says, Without vision, the people will perish. or something like that. I looked for it today but could not find it... so maybe that is a paraphrase. Anyway, I've heard plenty of sermons on it, so I'm sure it is there. ;)
I was thinking about vision this morning, particular in the context of organizations. Being where I am, at work, at church, etc.; its one of the things I do. Think about process stuff, how organizations work, etc. And this morning I was realizing how important vision is. That's not really a big revelation or anything, I mean there are plenty of books and topics on it. Plenty of speakers who will tell you how important it is. But regardless, not everyone gets it.
I've been in groups that have no vision other than to "keep getting work so we keep getting paid". An admirable goal, after all, that is why we work... but not very good as a vision. I'm in a group right now where the vision is much more than that. I don't know that the vision is written down or anything, but we take pride in what we do, feel that it makes a difference to the company (which is always a great thing) and do a good job for the customer. Our boss has always been good at looking for new work. We started with a generic system that could be used to detect fraud - seeing as our first customer was in the job of detecting fraud. Since then we've branched into many different areas: network management, network security, credit card fraud, etc. In one sense our system is a data reduction and correlation system, and we wrote it independent of the domain. Thus we can use it for all of the above. But many groups get stuck on "what we do is fraud", for instance. Our boss has always had the vision to see past that. Which is such a moral boost for architects and designers. I've been on other systems where "our system could do so much more if we could just get other types of customers" but the bosses have kept focused to just one customer. Our boss doesn't do that. He is always looking for new ways in which the system can be used. New uses to the business and company. That has kept us fresh over the years. I've been on this project for 10 years, and I'm still not bored... because what we do keeps changing. We keep finding new ways for it to be used, which presents new types of problems, requiring enhancements to the system, etc.
I wasn't so much thinking about the good aspects of this, this morning, as the bad. Thinking about an organization I know where there is no vision and very little leadership... and it made me realize how fortunate I am to be working in an organization where that its true.
People need a leader and they need a vision. Without out it, they "perish".