The mid-seventies motion picture All The President’s Men popularized the counsel offered by Deep Throat — Follow the Money.  This was the key to understanding the issues relevant to the Watergate scandal.

Questions about the events surrounding the 1972 U.S. Presidential election — who was behind the break-in at the Watergate…and why — made for compelling news coverage. For months we investigated, probed, and prodded anyone that might provide insight into what had happened. The prospect of unearthing and examining what took place captures our imagination.

Just follow the money.

But what if it is…or should have been…easier than that?

What if the key to understanding past, present and future initiatives is to trace the vision of would be leaders.

What if the makeup of ones vision is clear measure of what tomorrow will bring?

Consider three markers provided by history.

Undaunted by the shadows of a Civil War, and unwilling to dwell on negatives of the past, Abraham Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg presented a vision.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…”

Having challenged Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you,” President John F. Kennedy presented an unimaginable vision for the country’s laging space program — to put a man on the moon.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most memorable words to those assembled on the Mall in Washington, D.C. were not an analysis of a nation’s ills or a detailed plan for remedy. Rather, Dr. King envisioned a mountain top — a perspective only accessible through inspired eyes. And his words resonate to this day — “I have a dream.”

Granted, boisterous tyrants have managed to build empires — from neighborhoods to nations — by sowing seeds of fear. For the manipulators whose primary goal is to precipitate a reaction, exploiting the dark side is easier than conjuring a vision.

Fear seldom gives rise to lasting change. And a compelling vision for what might be — for a relationship, a team, an enterprise or a nation — will always tap into the best of us.

Where there is vision, there exists a kind of future-movie. In the instances of Dr. King’s dream, JFK’s audacious idea, and Lincoln’s plea for a new birth of freedom one imagines the perspective of the possibility was as vivid as a full-color-first-run.

A compelling future-movie is inclusive, taps into the best of our attributes, and precipitates the decisions and actions that are the difference between average, just getting by, or even good…and great. Worthy of a dream.

Tomorrow always brings unknowns. But history’s most compelling moments and poignant lessons — whatever the venue — are captured by the writer of Proverbs — “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”