>Vision, Goals, and Enterprise Architecture

>In the book, First Things First by Stephen Covey, the author provides insight into setting vision and goals that can be applied on a personal and leadership level.

What is VISION?

“The power of vision is incredible!”

“Vision is the best manifestation of creative imagination and the primary motivation of human action. It’s the ability to see beyond our present reality, to create, to invent what does not yet exist, to become what we not yet are. It gives us capacity to live out of our imagination instead of memory.”

“The passion of vision…we call it ‘passion’ because this vision can become a motivating force so powerful it, in effect, becomes the DNA of our lives. It’s so ingrained and integrated into every aspect of our being that it becomes the compelling impetus behind every decision we make. It is the fire within—the explosion of inner synergy…this passion can empower us to literally transcend dear, doubt, [and] discouragement.”

What are GOALS?

“When we set a goal, we’re saying, ‘I can envision something different from what is, and I chose to focus my efforts to create it.’ We use our imagination to keep the goal in mind, and independent will to pay the price to achieve it.”

“Self-awareness prompts us to start where we are—no illusions, no excuses—and helps us to set realistic goals. On the other hand, it also doesn’t allow us to cop out with mediocrity. It helps us recognize and respect our need to stretch, to push the limits to grow. So much of our frustration in life comes as a result of unmet expectations, the ability to set goals that are both realistic and challenging goes a long way to toward empowering us to create peace and positive growth in our lives.”

“A principle-based goal is…the right thing, for the right reason, in the right way.” This is based on the following:

  • Conscience—“through conscience, we connect with the passion of vision and mission and the power of principles.”
  • Creative Imagination—“through creative imagination, we envision possibility and synergistic, creative ways to achieve it.”
  • Self-Awareness—“though self-awareness, we set goals with realistic stretch and stay open to conscience-driven change.”
  • Independent Will—“through independent will, we make purposeful choices and carry them out; we have the integrity to walk our talk.”

As EA practitioners, we are leaders in our organizations. As leaders, we need to have a clear vision for motivating, synergizing, and giving us the imagination to see beyond our present reality. Additionally, as EA leaders, we need to develop principle-based goals that focus efforts, are challenging yet realistic, and help us to maintain our integrity.

EA leaders must have a vision and goals for not only the development of the EA program to further IT planning and governance and enhance decision-making in the enterprise, but EA leaders must also have vision and goals for the enterprise itself—what is the right things for the organization, for the right reason, and in the right way—this is manifested in the EA target architecture and plans.

Of course, the executives and subject matter experts in the organization ultimately have the vision and goals that drive mission execution and performance. However, EA is in a unique position to integrate those various views and bring synergy and consensus to a way ahead.

EA is an awesome responsibility to lead. EA is a stewardship, a trust. As stewards, EA is called to exercise responsible care over the enterprise baseline and target architectures, IT plans, and governance.

>First Things First and Enterprise Architecture

>In the book “First Things First” by Stephen Covey, the author describes an important dilemma of what’s important to us in life versus how we actually spend our time. Covey uses the metaphor of the clock and the compass to explain this.

  • The clock—“our commitments, appointments, schedules, goals, and activities—what we do with, and how we manage our time.”
  • The compass—“our vision, values, principles, mission, conscience, and direction—what we feel is important and how we lead our lives.”

The idea here is that we “painstakingly climb the ‘ladder of success’ rung by rung—the diploma, the late nights, the promotions—only to discover as we reached the top rung, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”

“Absorbed in the ascent, we left a trail of shattered relationships or missed moments of deep, rich living in the wake of the intense overfocused effort. In the race up the rungs we simply did not take the time to do what really mattered most.”
What is really important?

Covey sums it up nicely, as follows:

  • To live—our physical needs (“food, clothing, shelter, economic well-being, health”)
  • To love—our social needs (“to relate to other people, to belong, to love, to be loved”)
  • To learn—our mental needs (“to develop and to grow”)
  • To live a legacy—our spiritual needs (“to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution” and most important of all to serve and sacrifice for the one almighty G-d)

In case you don’t recognize it, these align nicely to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.


Maslow “in his last years, revised his earlier theory and acknowledged that the peak experience was not “self-actualization, but “self-transcendence,” or living for a higher purpose than self.

George Bernard Shaw put it this way:

“This is the true joy in life…being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one…being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy…I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can…I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

Covey says it this way:

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

As an enterprise architect, who works everyday to build a better organization, with efficient and effective business processes, timely and meaningful information supporting the business, and information technology solutions that drive mission execution, I thought it was important to put this important job in perspective. Because in order to be effective in the role as an enterprise architect, we have to realize that “balance and synergy” among the four needs—physical, social, mental, and spiritual—are imperative.

As Covey states: “we tend to see them [these needs] as separate ‘compartments’ of life. We think of ‘balance’ as running from one area to another fast enough to spend time in each one of a regular basis [or not!]…but [this] ignores the reality of their powerful synergy. It’s where…we find true inner balance, deep fulfillment, and joy.”