Conversely, a clear vision will challenge and excite your employees. Your vision must be something you and your employees believe in not just intellectually, but emotionally.
In addition, it should reflect an understanding of your core ideology, what you do better than your competitors and how you can make money with it.
Disney's vision, for example, is, "To make people happy." Merck's is, "To preserve and enhance human life." These are great examples of successful corporate vision statements, but the best example I've seen of a grand and noble vision was President Kennedy's vision for NASA's space program. President Eisenhower's vision for NASA was, "Maximum capability in space."
It was succinct, certainly, but not inspiring.
Compare it with President Kennedy's vision: "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth." His vision had a measurable goal and a timeline for achieving it. To hear him state this vision, which he did often during his administration, is to be inspired.
A vision statement is just part of how a company defines itself. Every company should have not only a clear vision statement, but a mission statement and a values statement. What is the difference between the three?
Your mission statement defines what game you're in. Your values statement defines the rules of the game--at least the way your company will play it. And your vision statement defines how you plan to win the game.
A company that fails to define itself clearly lacks direction, and so does its employees.