Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lisa Petrilli Wants You to Have a Clear Vision

Lisa can help you define your vision!
I first met Lisa Petrilli on May 14th. She was just launching her new blog C-Level Strategies & Awakenings. I was curious to read her blog and I left a comment and Lisa commented back to me.

Lisa's post this week, The Business-Altering Difference Between Vision and Mission interested me as a business owner and as someone who works with other business owners on a regular basis.  I hope you will take a few minutes to read Lisa's ideas. Here is what I had to say.

Here is my OP-ED...
June 13th, 2010


I think I have it: a mission statement is a given, whether it is spoken or not; however, a vision will drive the engine of success.

Now the questions, as I see them, are:

1. Why do people (business leaders) struggle with these concepts and their subtleties?
2. Once they get through the struggle and actually define their vision why are people (business leaders) reluctant to publish their vision statement?

To me it all comes down to accountability and a word that, at best, is fuzzy… vision. I mean if you just take out an ordinary dictionary and look up the word “vision” most of the definitions are filled with verbs like this: sensing, anticipating, hallucinating, perceiving, imagining, discerning, seeing. The word “vision” doesn’t seem concrete.

Maybe if we started very young to think of life with mission statements and vision statements it would be easier for the new entrepreneur to articulate both. I remember being a fairly young executive and we were having a workshop with Human Resources. Someone asked us to write down our five year and 10 year goals. How far do you think this exercise went before the HR person had lost control?

You see, if I state a goal with a vision and I announce it to my world (parents, sibling, peers, high-school counselor, mentor, professors, spouse, business partner, friends, neighbors, relatives), then not only will people know when I succeed, they will almost certainly know when I fail.

This is a scary proposition. Publishing a vision statement forces one to be accountable, for better or worse. Or at least it should.

LG Life’s Good

"LG’s vision is to deliver innovative digital products and services that make our customers’ lives better, easier and happier through increased functionality and fun."
This is a great vision statement, but LG does not always execute the mission to achieve the vision.

I was not having fun the evening I discovered the casing around the refrigerator light was melting and it smelled funny. When I called customer service they demanded that I pull the fridge away from the wall and unplug it. When I questioned why, they said it could start a fire! Imagine if I had not been home. It took over a month for them to agree to fix this 18 month old refrigerator. Mine was not an isolated case and they knew it.

On another note and back to your main topic, last evening I came across a quote:

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

This quote is often attributed to Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) and also to Jack Welch (1935…)

Do you know who really said it first?

P.S. I would love to feature you and this post on my new blog Judy’s OP-ED.
What do you think of that idea?
Here is Lisa's reply:
June 15, 2010


My concern is that part of what drives this is the very short-term focus on results and the fact that many executive tenures are so short. This may inhibit an ability to think boldly about what the organization can really become if it challenges itself to an audacious vision.

You are also right about fear of failure – if I tell you what I’m working towards and I don’t seem to be making any progress towards that vision will you judge me harshly? Is it safer just to follow the mission and hope it gets me somewhere?

My experience is that a mission with no vision leads organizations to walk in circles…

I love the quote – absolutely embrace it! Thank you for sharing it. And yes, I would be honored to be featured on your blog.
I don't need to know if you own an LG refrigerator, this really is not a blog about kitchens. But if you own a business, will you share your VISION?

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