I believe people can succeed without vision but it appears to be a phenomenon of achieving success in spite of themselves rather than because of themselves. At IBM, Unisys, and the Navy I associated with people whose goal was to satisfy the minimum requirements necessary to complete their job assignment and not make a mistake during the process. In this regard, these people were successful but they rarely received promotions or earned lucrative financial compensation. Colleagues that had a clear vision to illuminate their goals, however, performed the same job functions but achieved much greater success, abundant financial rewards, and frequent promotions.
Now long ago I read an article by Clemmer (2003) in which he compared goals and vision as follows:
|Appeal to our intellect||Engages our emotions|
|Results and timeframes||A desired future state|
|Builds a business case||Kindles a cause|
|Pushes performance||Inspires and aligns|
|Targets and objectives||Images and feelings|
|Solves problems||Imagines possibilities|
|Logical progression||Irrational “skyhooks”|
Goals are logical and vision is emotional. Goals, therefore, can exist without vision, enabling a person or organization to achieve a level of measurabl success but when these goals are “supercharged” with the emotion of vision, outstanding success can be the result. For example, if a person’s goal is to simply satiate their hunger, they can eat raw food until fulfilled. If their goal is coupled with the vision of a warm, well prepared, flavorable meal the results will probably be very different. The same goal is achieved but the quality of the solution is markedly different.
Clemmer, J. (2003). The Leader’s Digest: Timeless Principles for Team and Organization Success. Kitchener, ON: TCG Press