Difference between Vision and Goal
late 13c., “something seen in the imagination or in the supernatural,” from Anglo-Fr. visioun, O.Fr. vision, from L. visionem (nom. visio) “act of seeing, sight, thing seen,” from pp. stem of videre “to see,” from PIE base *weid- “to know, to see” (cf. Skt. veda “I know;” Avestan vaeda “I know;” Gk. oida, Doric woida “I know,” idein “to see;” O.Ir. fis “vision,” find “white,” i.e. “clearly seen,” fiuss “knowledge;” The meaning “sense of sight” is first recorded late 15c. Meaning “statesman-like foresight, political sagacity” is attested from 1926
“able to see visions,” 1650s, from vision + -ary. Meaning “impractical” is attested from 1727. The noun is attested from 1702, from the adj., originally “one who indulges in impractical fantasies.”
1530s, “end point of a race,” of uncertain origin, perhaps from O.E. *gal “obstacle, barrier,” a word implied by gælan “to hinder.” The word goal appears once before this, in a poem from early 14c. and with an apparent sense of “boundary, limit.” Sports sense of “place where the ball is put to score” is attested from 1540s. Figurative sense of “object of an effort” is from 1540s
Vision – “The power of imagination”
It’s right out there at the start; you have to imagine what your future world is going to look like, think out of the box, brainstorm, whatever. Think about how you would like your world to be and record it. Visions are the “mission statements” of your Strategy. A Vision could be “Imagine all of our infrastructure was based on Linux”
Keep going now…… What is a Goal?
Goal – “The state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve and that, when achieved, terminates behaviour intended to achieve it”
Wow, this is getting better now. Where do Goals fit in? Well, we set our Goals to align with our Vision. Staying with our Vision, we decide that possible Goals could be “Train all personel in Linux” or “Find Linux solutions for all our Middleware needs”. Set clear Goals within your Vision and record them. Goals are milestones, significant events towards the Vision.
Is there really a practical difference between Vision & Goal?
Many would argue that vision and goals are the same thing, and for all practical purposes they are, however when a difference is required I work on the following:
A goal is achievable…but only just using currently available tools, techniques and context/ environment.
Vision on the other hand is “out there” its totally unachievable, but we aspire to it.
There may also be a time frame involved here.. objectives are usually short time scales (in business terms) this may be 12 months.. goals are intermediate length 5-10 years and vision is much longer, decades in some instances (assuming current technology, resources, competition etc.).
Vision and vision statements have often been described as the horizon. You can see where you want to be, but you never get there because for every step you take, it moves another step away.
Goals on the other hand are specific benchmarks or “milestones” that you accomplish and that point you in the general direction of that elusive horizon.
Summary of differences between Vision & Goals
For many practical purposes they are the same, for those that need something a little more differentiating, vision is the almost imposable, goals are stretch desires and outcomes.
What do the terms Goal or Vision mean for you and your organization?