Those who read the Bible regularly soon come across this verse: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18, KJV). But as is often the case, people read the text and think no more about it. But there can hardly be a more important verse in Scripture. And as is also often the case, they read the first half of the verse and ignore the remainder.
Management guru Peter Drucker picks up the theme of vision in his book, Managing the Non-Profit Organization. In a section entitled “Planning For Performance” Drucker observes, “unless you integrate the vision of all constituencies into the long-range goal, you will soon lose support, lose credibility, and lose respect.” When this happens, the doors will close real fast, because people will abandon the organization. “No reason to be here,” they’ll say. I saw this in action just recently when a congregation had difficulty accepting a proposed budget. Some wanted money for a sound system; another wanted an upgraded car park so people didn’t have to park in mud when it rained. What was missing? The purpose of the budget had not been established throughout the organization.
Thus the passage in the Bible referring to Scripture is a very practical issue. But in a local organization, it needs to be remembered that where there is no united or shared vision, the organization will stumble, and stumble badly. It may limp along for quite a while, but it will die an agonizing death eventually. People will be burned, their hopes and aspirations for the organization will not be achieved, and they’ll leave disgruntled, unhappy and unfulfilled.
The End of American Manufacturing?
Peter Drucker, in his 1989 book, The New Realities, highlighted what he saw to be the major cultural shifts in the twentieth century. The farming sector, once the largest sector of every economy, had shrunk to a mere few percent of the population, yet the general wealth of the farming sector had not deteriorated. Together with the broad population, farmers were better off.
Manufacturing replaced the farming sector, argues Drucker. This was the economic revolution that turned the world upside down in the twentieth century. Manufacturing helped create America’s economic supremacy, but now it too is in jeopardy.
Recent news publications have carried scores of articles on the decline of manufacturing and its resultant unemployment for many Americans. By 2015, it has been predicted, up to three million jobs will be lost, mainly in the manufacturing sector. That sector will shrink just as the farming sector has done.
The remarkable feature of the decline in the manufacturing sector has been the accuracy of predictions like those of Peter Drucker. With insight, Drucker correctly foresaw the decline of American manufacturing. With equal foresight, he has seen the replacement of manufacturing and blue-collar workers with the information age and white-collar, educated workers who take and apply their skills in very narrow and specialist fields within the economy.