Blog Post 1 - Responding to “Build Your Company’s Vision” (Collins & Porras )
Collins and Porras propose that a Company’s Vision is a function of Core Ideology and Envisioned Future.
Core ideology is synonymous with brand. It represents the unchaining personality of a firm. If the brand sends mixed messages about its values and objectives, both consumers and employees will flounder. The core ideology is a mantra about why the company exists and a value-set that can be used as an identity constant during a time when everything else might be changing.
I reflected on the thoughts of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney who took considerable flack for an offhand comment that “Corporations are people”. 1 Although he claims to have been echoing Marshall v Baltimore, I think he was actually speaking automatically about his feelings towards corporations. After reading this article, I have gained an appreciation for this perspective (as it relates to business strategy – not politics). Perhaps one of the reasons Mr. Romney found so much success re-launching dozens of failing businesses is due to precisely that offhand comment. Seeing a corporation as a character with feelings, values, goals, and quirks creates a valuable perspective that helps to make difficult strategy decisions and focus on the brand mission.
One of the greatest strategy blunders of the 1980s was the result of Coca-Cola forgetting its core ideology. As young consumers were flocking to the sweeter tasting Pepsi Cola, Coke departed from its iconic recipe to launch “New Coke”. Although consumers liked the taste, they felt betrayed, as if an old friend was changing their personality to compete with the new kid on the block. The brand damage was so severe that coke had to reinstate the original soft drink within months of rolling out “new coke”. 2
A Company’s envisioned future encapsulates its ability to embark on ambitions plans and breathe life into what the realization of those plans would look like. Collins & Porras advocate ambitions in the form of “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals” that take anywhere between 10 and 30 years to complete. Those goals must be paired with “vivid descriptions” that help investors, employees, and customers understand what the Promised Land will look like when they arrive.