Ideas & Debate

Start-ups must cling to vision and values early

The founder-CEO of an organisation has a clear vision of what is possible, and he brings his strong values to the organisation. PHOTO | NMG
The founder-CEO of an organisation has a clear vision of what is possible, and he brings his strong values to the organisation. PHOTO | NMG 

I have recently been working with a very exciting start-up that is working frantically to prepare all aspects of its operations for a big launch and for having a major disruptive influence in their sector. In among the time-critical construction of facilities, the hiring of people, the evolving of structures and systems and so forth, it has been hard for them — make that impossible — to get together so as to reflect on their vision and values and form a cohesive team.

The founder-CEO has a clear vision of what is possible, and he brings his strong values to the organisation. Then, as he has been recruiting key members of his senior management team he has been seeking people who share his bold and uplifting vision and who are at home with his equally inspiring values.

Now the top team is in place, and they swiftly got down to meeting the crazy deadlines they had set. They have also communicated their planned timescales to their stakeholders, putting serious extra pressure on such shared ambitious expectations — as much with their investors as with their customers, suppliers, the regulators and others.

So now in the midst of all this frantic activity they decided to hold a retreat to talk about vision and values? Surely not! Think of all they could be doing instead — overseeing construction, working on big tenders, sorting out licences, soothing anxious shareholders…