Friday, August 7, 2015

Building a Company's Vision

The Harvard Business Review article titled Building Your Company’s Vision (James C. Collins; Jerry I. Porras) defines vision as having two components (core ideology and an envisioned future).   Core ideology is made up of the company’s core values and core purpose which act as the guiding principles by which a company navigates.  These core values require no external justification.  The authors state that a great company will change its markets or seek out different customers in order to remain true to its core values. 

How does a company or startup go about figuring out its core values?

·         Create a MARS group of five to seven people

·         The five to seven people selected should have the highest level understanding of what the company’s core values are and should have the highest credibility and competence amongst their peers.

·         Create a preliminary draft of no more than 5 core values

·         For each value the MARS group should ask at a minimum the following (3) questions:

1.       Would the company be willing to hold on to this core value even if it became a disadvantage?  If the answer is yes, it is a core value.

2.       If you started an organization tomorrow, what core values would you build into the org.?

3.       Will this value stand the test of time?  Can you envision those values being as valid 100 years from now as they are today?

How does a company identify its core purpose?

·         Use the five whys method to identify purpose.

·         Why is it important that we make this product? (ask this question (5) times)

·         The purpose should last at least 100 years.

·         The purpose should inspire change.

·         Lastly ask what deeper sense of purpose would motivate you to continue to dedicate your precious creative energies to this company’s efforts.

Envisioned future is the second part of the vision.  Envisioned future consists of two parts, a 10 to 30 year audacious goal plus vivid descriptions of what it will be like to achieve the goal.

10-to-30 (BHAG/audacious goal)

·         List goals audacious goals that typically require 10 to 30 years work to complete.

·         List audacious goal that are clear and compelling (Ex: climb mount Everest)

·         The audacious goals should serve as a unifying point of effort and act as a catalyst for team spirit.  It has a clear finish line in order to measure progress and completeness.

·         Vision level BHAGs (audacious goals) apply to the entire org. and require 10 to 30 years of effort to complete.

·         Set the BHAG (audacious goal) far into the future so that it is beyond the current capabilities of the organization. 

·         The BHAG (audacious goal) could have 50% to 70% probability of success.  However everyone must believe that the goal can be reached.

Vivid Descriptions

·         Write a clear description of what it would be like to achieve the BHAG (audacious goal)

·         Ex: transform this company into the #1 supplier of widgets in the world with the lowest defect rate per unit and highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry.

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