Vision’s All You’ve Got

You might hire the smartest data scientists available. You might develop a product that has benefits that push all the user buttons. You might price that product perfectly. You might distribute it perfectly. You might create the most clever campaign to promote it.

And you might be successful. But everything you just did will be noticed by the competition. They can and will copy it. They will make it better, cheaper and faster.

The only thing that differentiates you is your vision. Do you have one?

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3 Responses to Vision’s All You’ve Got

  1. Can’t corporate vision be copied too? Read the mission statement of global defense contractors and they all sound the same.

    Plus, intellectual property, methodology, track record of performance and executive thought leadership are all meaningful points of differentiation that can be unique to organization.

    I applaud the concise nature of your post, Mark. Yet, I find that you oversimplified a complicated topic — competitive positioning and differentiation.


  2. markpilip says:

    Indeed, a corporate vision can be copied. But most aren’t in fact visions. They’re just a bunch of corporate gobbledygook. You can generate vision or mission statements for any corporate borg entity here: and they’re as good as any you’ll get from a three day executive offsite

    All the stuff you discuss in the middle, such as IP, performance, etc. might be unique to the organization and they might make me buy a particular product at a particular point in time. But as soon as something better comes along, I go somewhere else. Let’s look at Samsung and Apple as an example. Samsung makes a whole host of very good products and I’ll bet that in some categories, like smart phones, you can go point-by-point down the list and the Samsung phones beat the iPhone hands-down.

    Yet when have you ever heard of people standing in line to buy the next Samsung phone? They’ll stand in line to buy the–inferior and more expensive–iPhone every time.

    That’s because Apple has a vision that lots of people–not all–buy into. Even if their current product roadmap doesn’t win on every feature, price, benefit.

    Let’s look away from corporations and look to real visions, like Dr. King’s. Writing in 1957 at the time of the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he wrote:

    “The ultimate aim of SCLC is to foster and create the ‘beloved community’ in America where brotherhood is a reality. . . . Our ultimate goal is genuine intergroup and interpersonal living — integration.”

    Dr. King’s vision was very clear, inspiring and one that seemed virtually impossible at the time. Think of his “product roadmap” for those that would follow his vision:
    * Fire hoses
    * Being set upon by dogs
    * Fire bombings of houses of worship
    * Beatings and jail
    * Death by lynching

    He had no protected IP, no detailed methodology and no track record of performance. And yet, because of his vision, people were willing to follow that inferior product roadmap and actually give their LIVES to that cause because they believed in the vision.


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