I frequently talk about the need to articulate a "vision." You need to have a clear vision (with 3 to 5 key priorities) to build a great business or non-profit. The vision is an aspiration - the impact you want to make on your customers and the world. It is the guide around which you align your organization. It informs all key decisions.
Among the examples of "vision" in my book is the diner around the corner from my apartment in NYC. It has dependable, affordable, friendly, quality food at a reasonable price. Yes, that's a vision. It makes a positive impact on me, its other customers and the neighborhood. I look forward to going there whenever I am in NYC. It is a calm, friendly, familiar place in a sometimes chaotic world.
I was in NYC during Hurricane Irene. Almost every commercial establishment in the neighborhood was closed - for good reason! I happened to go outside for a walk on Sunday morning. As I walked around the corner, to my amazement, I saw that the diner was open! I of course walked in and had breakfast.
I asked the staff why they were open. Wasn't it crazy to work in this storm? No, they said - they knew they were going to open a week ago. They stayed in a nearby hotel so they could open Sunday morning. Why? Because that is what they do - they stay open for their customers - no matter what. Dependable -- that's part of their vision. Wow.