For an Entrepreneur, a spot-on vision is paramount. The propositioned vision affects the product, team creation, culture (the way we execute is an indication of culture), the investor we attract and market value created.
A mentor of mine once said:
“Focus on creating and exchanging value, money is only the medium of exchange and in itself has no value; Money propagates continuous exchange of value”
The Old book says “Without vision people perish” which in business terms translates “Without vision companies fail”.
Peter Drucker puts it this way “The best way to predict the future is to create it”
Vision goes beyond a “Vision Statement”, it needs to be dynamic, inexhaustible, and futuristic. The Vision can often become disjointed if not continuously harmonized; roles, systems, resources, market/industry/legal changes and mergers/acquisitions assimilation dictate periodic vision deviation assessments.
Employees are important investors, although not a conventional definition of term “investor”, the workforce, culture and skillset alignment is essential to realize the vision.
As an entrepreneur, at least an aspiring one, I was consistently frustrated in finding the right resources, roles and enablers until I stumbled on some vision role attributes:
- Vision Creators: these are often the dreamers of the future, Founders, entrepreneurs, Idealists and may not be suited for any other roles.
- Vision Expanders: they can take a simple vision, expand the practical possibilities and applications. Make great co-founders and business development partners.
- Vison Enablers and Executors: can take the vision and execute with precision. Often cannot be tasked nor are willing to participate in vision enhancements. Information Technology is a great enabler.
- Sub-Vision Takers: Specializations and departmental siloes fall under this role; often not able to see the big picture.
- Vision Crunch Jobber: these are the “lights-on” and repetitive work jobbers; “Just tell me what to do”
- Vision Value Evaluators: these roles include sales, support, media, Market/industry evaluators and competitors that often create a perceived value of the products and services. A poorly trained sales and marketing team can greatly devalue a product.
- Value Consumers: They may not understand the product or Technology but play a key role in product feedback, testimonials and business value created. They are the greatest benefactors of the vision.
If you employed a “Vision Crunch Jobber” as a co-founder, any frustrations will be of your own doing, and often investors can spot disjointed roles which lead to non-executable visions.
Companies like WorldCom, Yahoo, AOL …for example through mergers/acquisition did not harmonize their Vision thus becoming disjointed and almost irrelevant. Innovation when acquired carries a vision that cannot be ignored.
Amazon is technology company that retails products, Walmart is a retail company that uses Technology; if technology is a key enabler, it is obvious that Amazon will outperform Walmart.
To stress the importance of sound Vision role placements, Technology companies are advocating that “Vision Roadmaps” replace “Detailed Architectural Technical Roadmaps” to make systems more Agile and incorporate DevOps methods (continuous improvement and progressive compliance).
Just sharing my thoughts and lessons learnt while attending The Business School of Hard Knocks.