A company's vision is usually a short, succinct, yet inspiring statement of what the organization hopes to become over the course of its future development. One example of a vision statement is General Electric's "We bring good things to light." The strategic direction of a company is the specifics of what it will do to realize its mission statement in the near future, often in relation to its competitors. Its vision refers to intentions that are broad and future oriented. A strategic direction is necessary for a company leader when he or she is implementing specific ways of fulfilling that vision. A company must have a projected image of its goals before it sets out the plan for its growth and development but a vision alone is not enough in the competitive environment of commerce. (Kotelnikov, "Corporate Vision, Mission, Goals and Strategies, 2004)
This is where good leadership becomes important. A good leader must define the company's aspirations for the future as well as specify the specific means that will be used to achieve those desired ends. "To choose a direction, an executive must have developed a mental image of the possible and desirable future state of the organization. This image, which we call a vision may be as vague as a dream or as precise as a goal or a mission statement." (Kotelnikov, "Corporate Vision, Mission, Goals and Strategies, 2004) After the dream and motivation of the vision, then comes a realistic assessment of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of the current environment.
An organizational culture is the personality of the organization. Unlike the organization's mission statement, the culture is not clearly defined nor is it decided upon in a conscious fashion. Rather, a culture is comprised "of the assumptions, values, norms and tangible signs" that are held up as important by the organization's leaders and members. (McNamara, 1999) Culture is