Today I went out to eat lunch with my lovely wife. At the table next to us were two businessmen who were discussing future plans for their business. Of course, rather than using the word plan they kept using the word vision. This isn't the first time I've heard this euphemism. Marketing departments must stay awake late at night coming up with cute buzzwords to replace boring old words that everybody, you know, actually understands. I think it's part of what keeps them employed. I'm guess I'm not really one to talk because IT is also a department very famous for coming up with new complex words too, but at least it's not to replace perfectly fine existing words, it's usually just fancy acronyms for new technology. I confused a manager the other day by saying KVM. Either way, I'm sure it keeps us employed. :-D
But, I digress…
I actually heard these two say things like, "we need to communicate our vision" and "can you explain your vision for this?" The one that took the cake for me was, "Wow – that's a lot of vision."
No, I'm serious! That cracked me up.
What they were talking about were their plans for the business. How on earth the word vision became such a buzzword replacement for plan, I have no idea. I hear vision at work frequently, especially around review time when I have to help with the "Five Year IT Vision" or whatever they are calling it this year. But these two guys really took it to the next level. They certainly didn't make it up. They were just trying to sound like the Big Boy CEOs that throw that word around gratuitously. I guess it sounds more fun and exciting than a plan, but that's all it is.
About the only thing worse than using vision instead of plan is when businesspeople use the word vision instead of the word budget. Now, this one threw me off the first time I heard it. It was really quite odd to hear things like "the maintenance cost of this project accounts for 10% of the 2008 vision." That's just silliness.
Oh, I forgot to mention what the vision actually was that the two aforementioned gentlemen were discussing at lunch. They were building a new church. I didn't even understand that until about halfway through the first gentleman finished presenting his complete vision to the second gentleman. It all seemed very… un-Christ-like to me. Let's just say it was an expensive and grandiose vision. It's quite unfortunate when religion becomes difficult to distinguish from big business. Personally, I'd rather see all those generous donations go to the needy, but I know -- that's just crazy talk! The needy can wait! These guys really needed that large field, huge buildings, fancy architecture, statues, and expensive windows!