Vision Alone Is
The example of
illustrates the distinction between vision and
highlights that lasting success comes from having a compelling
vision of what you want to achieve and developing a strategy for
making that vision a reality.
Having only one or the other leads
to underachievement. In fact, many well-known
entrepreneurs suffered from the Jobs syndrome – being a
visionary and with relatively weak strategic skills – and
suffered the same fate of being cast out of the company they
founded. Many high-profile dot-com failures suffered from the
corporate equivalent of the Jobs syndrome, with lofty visions
(e.g., “the Internet will reshape the business world, and we’re
going to be a part it…”) but poor strategies (“… so let’s sell
dog food online!”).
On an individual level, the Jobs
syndrome underlies several types of psychological dysfunction;
perfectionists and procrastinators, for example, both tend to
have ideals so lofty or daunting that no strategy could possibly
be successful, leading to broader patterns of anxiety and
The same combination of high-minded ideas with the
inability to put them into
action is seen from television
characters like Kramer on Seinfeld to social archetypes such as
“hopeless romantics” and “absent-minded professors.”
True success only
comes from a combination of vision and strategy
Henry Ford, for example,
not only had a vision of an America reshaped by affordable
automobiles, but also a highly successful strategy built
around mass production and mass marketing.
Throughout history, successful
business ventures – from Ted Turner’s CNN to
Steve Case’s America OnLine to
Microsoft to Oprah Winfrey’s inspirational empire –
have all been made possible by the combination of vision and
strategy, of insight and execution.
Social and religious leaders
Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
had the same combination – an inspiring vision of what
society could be, and strategies based on civil disobedience
for helping make that vision a reality.
Vision and strategy are both required for
success in daily life as well, as illustrated in a study conducted by James Pennebaker at Southern Methodist University. He identified three
kinds of people:
who consistently focused on important issues of vision –
their lives, identities, expectations for the future, and so
“low-level thinkers” who
consistently focused on mundane concerns and daily
“flexible thinkers” who
engaged in both high-level and low-level thinking. Flexible
thinkers were found to have the best physical health and the
lowest rates drug and alcohol use.
good health result from both high-level thinking about
issues of vision, as well as more detailed, lower-level
planning about how to achieve that vision.
get the most out of life, ask yourself if you have both a
vision and a strategy. Think about your vision for your
future – Do you really know what you want to achieve? Have you
really thought about who you want to become? And what about your
strategy for getting there – Have you set goals? Have your
written down your
goals? Have you made plans for success?
Clarifying both your vision and strategy will help maximize your
your success, not to mention
your health and