An organization’s vision, its long-term goal of what it wants to become, is expressed in a vision statement, which describes its long-term direction and strategic intent. For example, Walt Disney’s original vision for Disneyland went in part like this:
Disneyland will be something of a fair, an exhibition, a playground, a community center, a museum of living facts, and a showplace of beauty and magic. It will be filled with the accomplishments, the joys and hopes of the world we live in. And it will remind us and show us how to make those wonders part of our own lives.30
Although a vision statement can be short, it should be positive and inspiring, and it should stretch the organization and its employees to achieve a desired future state that appears beyond its reach. Google’s vision, for example, is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt estimated that it might take 300 years to achieve the company’s vision, which would require Google to have strategic patience and to develop a grand strategy that is broad in focus.31
Guidelines for constructing powerful mission statements and vision statements are shown below. (See Table 6.1 .) “Visions that have these properties challenge and inspire people in the organization and help align their energies in a common direction,” says Burt Nanus of the University of Southern California’s School of Business Administration. “They prevent people from being overwhelmed by immediate problems because they help distinguish what is truly important from what is merely interesting.