Over the past twenty years, most organizations have become more tumultuous, creating greater uncertainty for everyone inside them. When uncertainty increases, so does the need for vision. In the face of uncertainty and change, people need a meaning system that allows them to connect and move forward in a productive way. Yet most organizations suffer from a lack of vision.
I remember a visit I made to a large company. A task force composed of the company’s top executives had been given three months to generate a vision statement. I met with the members of this group and I read the nearly completed statement. They asked me what I thought of their vision. I simply responded, “Who is willing to die for this vision?” No one spoke up. My question had surprised them and made them somewhat uncomfortable. Why? Because as a politically segmented group, they had executed an exercise in rational compromise and forged some abstract generalities into a statement to which no one could object. They did not generate a document with power.
(Building the Bridge as you Walk on It, pp. 136)