One of the hardest challenges I find in running a business is coming up with a clear strategy. As a founder or MD people want to see a clear and bold vision which they can get behind and support. However coming up with one is quite difficult if 1) you employ people more intelligent than yourself and 2) the market and industry in which you operate has changed so much in such a short period of time. So my feeling has always been to push back to the staff to help define what exactly it is and how we might achieve it. Ironically the one strap line I came up with when I started the business ‘get your data flowing’ has been the only one to stand the test of time.
One company that has absolutely nailed the vision speak is Volvo who has been working towards their vision that ‘no person will die in a Volvo by 2020’ – a bold claim. A claim that you could argue is impossible to achieve. But what a vision. Imagine what that does for the team, especially for a company who have been given up by Ford and sold to the Chinese in an impossibly competitive climate. Somehow in one sentence they have not only galvanised and focused the workforce but also made safe cool and got themselves a lot of positive attention.
Last week Volvo topped the German JD Power survey, pretty incredible when you consider that is the home of Mercedes, VW and BMW. They have launched some great cars, the V40 is particularly smart and their new V60 hybrid ticks a lot of boxes. Both of which I was able to enjoy on the Volvo stand at Goodwood Festival of Speed, by far the best stand at the event.
So evidently they are on a roll and as they now release details of some of the technology that will be offered in their new XC90 due in 2014 you can see they are really making progress towards their bold vision. Personally I think they can do it. Obviously there will be some nutter who will turn off all the safety systems but there is no reason, as cars become more autonomous, that they can get very close to their goal.