Vision is simply a clear picture of the future toward which you are striving.
Most organizations benefit from having a long-term vision, and a near-term vision.
Your long-term vision is often time-independent. Example: Ending Cancer.
Vision, in this sense, is more like a ‘higher cause worth pursuing.’ We call it vision, but we can’t always see exactly how to get there.
In these instances, we benefit from a near-term vision that will maximize the contribution and engagement of others. This is usually time-dependent and tied to an achievable goal.
Example: “By 2020 we want to make sure we have a national registry for xyz cancer trials. This will be an important milestone toward ending cancer.”
I’m sure we could simply reframe these visions as ’cause’ and ‘goal,’ but thinking of them as a long-term vision and a near-term vision helps to frame them in a way that is usually more visceral and engaging, because we’re focusing on the ‘clear picture.’