Vision-Based Framework

Some companies exist primarily (or exclusively) to make money. Others exist for a variety of non-financial (or pseudo-financial) reasons. But in much of the research about companies that have gone from startup to scale to world-changing status, observers found a common architecture. This architecture is vision-based, and mission driven. It starts with a core purpose and core values, then builds from those to a strategic vision and a BHAG, from which flow a set of strategic initiatives.

I created the graphic below in an attempt to illustrate this:


We’ve used a vision-based framework at Moz for a long time, but often not been as explicit about as we could and should have been. I wrote about some of these in our recent announcement of moving from SEOmoz to Moz, and this past week, at our quarterly AllHands meeting (our first as Moz), I presented a slide deck with more on this topic. Despite having what most companies would probably consider fairly “confidential” information, I decided to publish the deck, which you can see below.

I’ve scrubbed only a single section – one of our strategic initiatives – from the presentation.

Presenting at the AllHands meeting is challenging; in fact they are almost certainly the most difficult presentations I give. The audience is Mozzers – my team members – and while many of them have been around a long time and would forgive a slip-up, there’s a lot of new folks getting information for the first or second time. It’s been eye-opening indeed to see how an offhand remark or poorly phrased sentence on stage at an AllHands 3 or 6 months ago can stick in someone’s mind and create concern or mistrust about their job for long periods of time thereafter.

That’s one of the reasons I put a lot more time and energy into this slide deck, and made it less visual and more text-driven than I usually would. My hope is that the deck can live on, past the presentation, and be a reference point for those who might want

Back to vision-based frameworks – I don’t know if this is the perfect format for every company and organization, but I know it’s the right architecture for Moz (and for any company that I’d want to work at). I suspect that many use this type of system, but I can’t say for certain and would love to know more.

Is your organization using this (or something like it)? If they aren’t doing so expressly, do you sense that the answers to purpose/vision/BHAG/values exist internally but simply aren’t framed this way? Or do you derive your goals – long and short-term – from some other system? And if so, what is that?

Feedback and questions about the slide deck is also welcome!