Maintain a clear vision of your goal
During the early 1990s, the wounded giant IBM nearly collapsed. From having nearly half a million employees and a market capitalization larger than the gross domestic product of half the countries on the United Nations roster, IBM appeared ready for demise. Then in early 1993, IBM’s board appointed Lou Gerstner as CEO. His first public utterance as IBM chief was, “The last thing IBM needs right now is a vision.” Since then, IBM went up fivefold while the Dow during the same period tripled. Gerstner has done well by his shareholders; but according to Rich Karlgaard, Forbes magazine publisher, Gerstner lied. IBM did have a vision from 1993 to 2002. It was to become a master of new technology. IBM led the nation’s companies in recording patents. It developed blue-laser technology, speech recognition technology, optical microscopes, coper-wired
microprocessors, and many other breakthroughs. People sometimes mock “the vision thing”, but everyone needs a vision.
You must have a vision of your goal. More important, you have to know when to focus on your goal and when to focus on the intermediate steps. Suppose your project is to build a house. Should you focus on the overall design and how it will integrate with surrounding scenery, or should you focus on finding a supplier for bricks? In other words, vision or details? What would someone who aspires to leadership do?
Goal oriented thinking, it should be last when you are engaged in deed, but first when you are engaged in thought. While designing that house, think of its ultimate usage. Consider what it will look like up there on the hill. Should you include the existing trees in the final landscape? Now is the time to think about it. But soon the design phase will be complete and blueprints drawn. Now it is time to begin grading the lot and digging foundations. At this deed phase of the project, contemplation of the final picture is merely day dreaming. Now there is work to be done, and that comes most easily when you focus on each step that lies ahead.
Thus the answer to the original question is that you should be able to focus on both the goal and the intermediate steps. To begin a software design project or business plan, you must focus on your ultimate goal. You must then break down that goal into intermediate phases, ensuring that each phase links seamlessly with those around it. Then, you need to break down each phases into specific tasks, each of which can be tackled without any distraction from the bigger picture. At regular intervals, you should glance up at the bigger picture to make certain that you are still on course. People are more liable to follow people who demonstrate that they know where they are headed as well as knowing how to skirt or overcome the obstacles on the way. No matter what your occupation may be, there are opportunities to do so.