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Dallas Business Law Attorney Discusses Living Your Values

Dallas business law attorney Richard “Ric” Armstrong reviews an article from business expert Jim Collins.

Businesses spend lots of time crafting mission statements, vision statements, and roadmaps to success. There’s a big difference between talking about vision and being a visionary, says business researcher, Jim Collins.

A vision statement includes three basic elements:

•    A statement for the company’s fundamental existence (beyond turning a profit)

•    The company’s built-in core values

•    The company’s big goals for the future

Collins argues that while leaders obviously need to be aware of their vision and communicate it throughout the organization, simply “having” this idealized future identified and documented is not enough. The company must also live up to that vision and align its processes, goals, strategies and peoples to that end. Per Collins, this practice is made possible by “creating alignment-alignment to preserve an organization’s core values, to reinforce its purpose, and to stimulate continued progress toward its aspirations.” Alignment between thinking and doing, in other words, is what makes a business truly visionary.

Businesses often start without concrete principles, but with a commitment to intrinsic values or progress. Many of today’s most successful tech outfits, from Apple to Hewlett Packard, started with just a drive to create progress. It’s the ability of these companies to translate this drive into concrete mechanisms for change that set them apart.

What Are These Mechanisms?

Turning your visions into actions requires two parts, according to Collins: correcting your misalignments and creating new alignments that will drive your organization.

Correcting your misalignments is simply a matter of determining the obstacles that lay the path of achieving your vision. For example, many people say they want to put the power in their employees’ hands, but they undermine that statement through outdated organizational policies and red tape.

The second part is creating new mechanisms that live up to your vision. Collins takes 3M as an example: They say they are committed to innovation, but they also live up to that value by requiring that 30% of their revenue be driven by new products.

The Bottom Line: Practice, Don’t Preach

It’s easy to hold marathon meetings in the boardroom that detail your grand plans for the future—it’s much more difficult to live up to those expectations. Successful visionaries do more than create plans for the future: they deliver measurable, concrete goals for their companies.

Rather than questioning where your company is going, determine the cause of its misalignments. Where are you on eliminating them? What do you need to move forward? Your company’s vision always should be evolving.

Good businesses start with a good legal foundation. Contact Dallas business law attorney Richard “Ric” Armstrong for details.



Richard Armstrong, Principal

Richard Armstrong, Principal


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