The vision / mission joke

Why so much fuss about vision/mission statements in a startup?  What purpose do they serve?  Founders never work towards a mission, the mission becomes them. Everyday new challenges emerge and inspired founders solve them as they go. Ninety percent of these statements anyway end up as a mere link in a web site, a slide in a business plan, hardly ever get executed. It’s there may be because VCs would want them.  

What’s wrong if a business is just a product of inspired improvisation? In building his company Berkshire Hathaway, virtually from scratch over the past quarter-century, Warren Buffet conjured no overarching strategic vision.  He had followed no master plan other than to buy good businesses at the right price.  Even when he erred–a rare occurrence–he enfolded his purchases in an embrace intended to be permanent.  ”We buy everything, even a stock, with the idea that we will hold it forever,” Buffet says. 

I perfectly agree.  The entrepreneur in me says this. Work towards delivering a differentiator that drives customer preference. In this light, the big challenge may not be coming up with the initial deviation—there are usually lots of good ideas in play. The real challenge is coming up with all the supporting innovations that reinforce the initial vector, aligning all the other functions and processes to it. This will catalyze new value proposition, creating a sustainable differentiation that can generate deep and lasting competitive advantage. 

I think living with a vision statement builds in rigidities. Would you agree…?




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