Vision alone is not enough

Do you know Fumyo Kawamura?

Kawamura isnt the latest business guru from Japan, although his story does have a lesson for certain preening, self-important managers (you may not recognize yourself, but believe me, the rest of us do). Im talking about those execs who believe that their own management vision -- a word they speak in hushed tones, as if it actually meant revelation -- is the most important thing they can contribute to you, your project, and your company.

In fact, Kawamura is a Japanese golfer -- and a fanatical one, at that. According to a recent Golf Journal, so enamored is Kawamura with golf that his lifelong dream has been to travel to the home of the Masters tournament, at Augusta National Golf Club. For Kawamura, merely to walk those hallowed, magnolia- and dogwood-lined fairways would be a preview of heaven. And playing Augusta -- in the footsteps of champions such as Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods -- well, that would be nirvana itself.

So Kawamura arranged for himself the trip of a lifetime. And after a long flight across a dozen time zones and a cab ride through fall foliage that, strangely, didnt include magnolias or dogwoods, he arrived, golf bag over his shoulder and suitcase under his arm, at the Augusta golf club.

"All my life I dream of coming to Augusta," he told Augustas resident golf professional. "I see it on television every year. It is very popular in Japan, yes? Beautiful flowers. I go to America to walk famous Augusta. First may I eat lunch?"

It was then that the golf pro delivered to Kawamura three pieces of good news and one piece of very, very bad news:

* Kawamura was welcome to eat lunch.

* He was welcome to walk the course.

* He was even welcome to play, as a guest of the club.

* But unfortunately for Kawamura, he was at Augusta Country Club in Augusta, Maine, 1,112 miles from Augusta National Golf Club, in Augusta, Ga., the actual home of the Masters.

Ouch.

What can we learn from Kawamuras disappointment? Heres my take: The next time your executive-floor buddies begin droning on about wanting to focus less on day-to-day operations and more on their vision, you should tell them Kawamuras story. Describe a man brimming over with vision -- a dreamer with a clear concept of what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go. Explain that his 1,112-mile mistake resulted not from a lack of focus on his dream, but from believing that vision was a substitute for doing his homework.

If they still dont get the hint, remind them that after a quick lunch, our hapless hero cabbed it back to the airport for a long, lonely flight home. As far as we know, he still hasnt made it to Augusta.

Send e-mail messages to John Brandt at [email protected]

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