Vision, Goals, and Clear Decisions


Andrew Ishimaru

Low-code tools are going mainstream

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Multilingual NLP will grow

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Combining supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods

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Automating customer service: Tagging tickets and new era of chatbots

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Detecting fake news and cyber-bullying

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One of the most difficult parts of running a business is often dealing with people.

After all, what is a business but a collective group coordination problem bound together by the promise of making money?

Coordinate well towards a profitable goal, and you make money.

Coordinate poorly, and you will not make money.

Everything in between is the art & science of management and leadership.

Because when your team's path is not clear, they need a way to decide what to do when you're not around

This exists at every level from the macro to the micro.

When I do structured journaling every Sunday, I ask myself specific questions like:

  • Am I on track to hit my goals?
  • What could go wrong next 90 days?
  • How can I 10x progress in the next six months?
  • Am I properly allocating/optimizing my time?
  • Am I happy?

As I reflect, I often find myself reaching for answers on key decisions like prioritizing between closing more deals (sales) and working on product. Or, dealing with a possible cash crunch vs. expanding my resources by hiring someone.

In these situations, I rely on my vision, values, and goals to decide what to do.

They provide clarity when the right action is unclear, because my past self spent a lot of time thinking about what's most important on a greater time scale, and writing that down in the form of vision, values, and goals.

My vision for Orchestration involves buying SMB businesses at good value prices. So given a choice between building a new service for VC backed startups or more traditional businesses, I orient towards the traditional businesses.

I value speed. So when weighing a tough decision, I decide to act quickly.

My short term goal this quarter is to close $xx in new client revenue for an existing product. So I prioritize existing product sales first over long term product development to secure more cashflow, now.

This is precisely how to gain large scale people leverage across a business

When your head of sales is thinking about what deals to prioritize, how do they make that decision?

When you marketing team is working on a new lead gen campaign, how do they decide what channels to target?

When your new customer support rep gets a ticket about how to use a feature, how quickly do they respond?

Vision helps with large-scale decisions.

Values help with micro-scale decisions.

Goals help with meso-scale decisions.

And together, they all help speed up growth, which is the best driver of long-term value.

As humans bound to time by our mortality, we face a choice every day. Be pushed around by the forces of life external to our consciousness? Or, use our agency to steer reality in a new direction and shape what the future looks like.

And as leaders and managers, we have a lot of agency. We can tell people to do things, and they do them. We can say things like, our vision is to be the leader in visitor management software. And then figure out how to empower a team to make that vision into real reality.

Each step of the way, narrowing down focus a little more by removing the many options of what we could do, and clearly focusing on specific things.

If done well, each person will have the conceptual tools to make high quality, timely decisions about what to do without needing to ask someone else with more authority.

This is the art of management done well.

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