Founder’s Vision

The Founder’s vision is one of the critical components that creates value in a successful company. Of course their leadership, continued dedication to the brand and amazing products or services are also key to develop it and to nurture it’s growth, too.

I think about the new iPhone 6 and then clearly, Steve Jobs. He hasn’t been a part of that company’s vision – personally – in a few years. How closely to his vision are they going to stay? Only time will tell – unless he has a clear and definitive outline of how he wanted the company to be run once he was gone. He knew he was leaving the business and had to have thought about what he wanted his legacy to be when he wasn’t at the helm any more. He gave up the “helm” long before he gave up this world.

Do you think the same for other well-known founders who are no longer with us today? I don’t sit and ponder this all the time, but certainly the random thoughts hit me and I have to wonder.

Is this what they wanted it to be?

For example, is this the way Paul Newman wanted Newman’s Own Foundation to be run, to be promoted, to be marketed? With his legacy and the company’s ties to charitable works certainly he must have outlined a HIGH level of detail of things he felt were important to control for the future – even in his absence. Yes, all after tax and royalty proceeds to go charity. Yes his foundation is the heart of the vision – to fulfill his mission to help others.

But…Do you think Paul Newman wanted the top bar of the lemonade carton to read – in big bold letters “No High Fructose Corn Syrup”?

I think not.

Of course it doesn’t have HFCS in it! The carton clearly states “All Natural” – that would mean it could NEVER be made with something that is started from corn and refined into fake sugar. (OK, you may want to debate me on the real and fake side of that form of sugar, let’s table that topic for another day…) the real point is that I doubt he was this clear in his outline of vision.

But, I have a different opinion of the product because of that statement. It’s a me-too statement. “Buy from us because we are marketing to the dislike people have developed of High Fructose Corn Syrup in the last few years due to ongoing studies of the correlation between child-hood obesity and diabetes linked to the wide-spread use of HFCS in our foods.” Not that I disagree with the statement, but that they had to clarify what “natural” means.

Back to Steve…Do you think Steve Jobs wanted the iPhone 6 to become a “me-too-bigger-than-your-pocket-tablet-phone”? Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t. I have to wonder, how in the heck am I going to carry this sucker around in my pocket – women’s dress pant pockets are tiny to start… maybe I am not supposed to put it away, people are supposed to see the phone. Aha…

My ultimate point is this. Do you, as a FOUNDER of your company, have a clear and present mission for what you want your company to be, to do, to become? Have you outlined your vision and how you plan to get there? What if you were not there to run the company anymore. Would your second-in-command, your right hand person, your VPs, your directors your board – would they know what you wanted to happen next if you couldn’t make the decisions?

If not, do you care? If you don’t, why not? Why are you doing this if not for the legacy?

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

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