The Vision Thing…

Corporate websites are full of “vision” or “mission” statements. It is something that seems to be expected, and there is nothing wrong with an entity’s founders or Board creating such a statement- after all, it is useful to know why you are doing what you do, and give external parties some idea.

If one creates an entity which is intended to prosper and create value, you have to start with a basic premise as to why it should exist. This helps all those involved know the goal(s), and reduces the scope for misunderstanding and diffusion of purpose. If there is disagreement, the odds of that entity succeeding are greatly reduced.

Of course, having a vision and being “inspired” is all very well, but real value is only created through rigorous execution, which requires an effective mix of strategy and tactics. People will, and should, only subscribe to your vision if they have evidence of it operation and results.

Getting strategy right is often difficult, because one has to move from the theoretical (vision) to effective implementation. Perspiration follows inspiration, and execution is often far harder than anticipated, as the real world is not an ordered and static theoretical construct to which one can easily apply leverage, but a complex adaptive system which has the capability for inflicting endless disappointment and frustration. Plans are supposed to work; money and time are expended, but the outcome is uncertain- the ability to adapt is an essential skill.

So too is communication, whether of targets, timelines, or deliverables. While, as noted, these may need to be adapted, they must be clear. And, there is nothing wrong with them seeming unreasonable. Human beings respond better to stressors (as long as they understand their purpose) than one might suspect, and no organization with a sustainable business model and competitive edge was ever built by taking a leisurely approach! One just has to be able to separate the important from the trivial or redundant (another necessary skill), and be ruthless in prioritization.

It also helps to build a “library” of processes and templates that are able to be combined in ways that are effective, without those involved having constantly to “re-invent the wheel”, thus reducing cognitive load, and providing more time for creative thought and problem-solving (because there will be problems!)

Similarly, decision-making processes need to be fit-for-purpose and actually permit the making of decisions. It is remarkable how many supposedly sophisticated and well-resourced entities are very poor at doing this; which creates a repetitive failure of execution, and frictions which actively retard value creation.

And if you do not have the right mix of knowledge, experience and skills available to create a coherent, high-functioning team, then your “perfect” vision may as well not exist. Even in a world of seemingly ever more prevalent algorithms and automated processes, the quality of your collective intellectual capacity, properly resourced and focused, provides the edge that may well separate success from failure; and help take you from vision to result.

The Awbury Team

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