Role of Vision at Mentor Graphics Case Study

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Role of Vision at Mentor Graphics

Mentor Graphics a computer design and software firm spent an entire decade grappling with developing a concrete and clearly defined vision for the organization. Over the ten-year period no less than six changes to the company's vision were introduced and subsequently discarded. Analyzing the direction and substance of Mentor's vision statements, a clearly identifiable commonality is discerned; the company lacked cohesiveness and foresight in crafting a "vision statement which includes a vivid description of the organization as it effectively carries out its operations" (McNamara, C. 2008). Mentor's vision statements were not about progressivity but were actually poorly constructed mission statements which "at their most basic, describes the overall purpose of the organization" (McNamara, C. 2008). The lack of a perspicuous vision statement hobbled the company's ability to remain competitive in the innovative and expanding technology industry.

Question I

Vision at Mentor Graphics was as much about abrupt adjustment as it was a carefully planned forward looking strategy. Beginning with the pragmatic "Building something that people will buy," the company proceeded to formulate new vision statements in response to the changing context of both internal and external changes to industry and the firm. Response to events rather than prioritizing strategies to positively effect change seem to be at the core of Mentor Graphics problems. Viewed in the context of change images, Gerard Langeler can be described as the caretaker, one who has very little control over the forces that impact the organization. Looking at "Six Bones" as an example, Langeler was unable to make a fundamental change to the vision statement based on the number of functional and business lines. The reality of Mentor's misallocated vision was one of bifurcation; "vision driving change, and change leaders having limited impact" (Palmer, I. 2008) on organizational dynamics and outcomes.

Question II

Vision statements are an integral piece of corporate strategy; "having a strategic vision is linked to competitive advantage, enhancing organizational performance, and achieving sustained organizational growth" (Palmer, I. 2008). For Mentor Graphics the vision statement represented a fundamental weakness to the company and its opportunities for growth. The "Beat Daisy" vision statement was far too narrow in its scope and breadth. Developing strategies to win market share from competitors is an important function however, as a stand-alone statement it lacks a clear definition. "Beat Daisy" is in essence a slogan but does not constitute an effective vision statement. So also with the "10X Imperative," Langeler developed a catchy phrase which "mirrored the push other companies were making toward quality through six sigma programs" (Case Study. Mentor Graphics. N.D.); however, there was no underlying picture of what the company was doing, how they would proceed, or an expected destination to be realized in the future.

Question III

Vision statements fail primarily via three avenues: poor implementation, statement and strategy disconnect, and lack of clear articulation of the statements to employees. In the case of Mentor the vision statements throughout the decade created a desultory effect between core competencies and the ostensible purposes of activity. Langeler makes this point in his statement that "Changing the way the world designs together" was "the final extension of vision creep that began with "Six Boxes" (Case Study. Mentor Graphics. N.D.). Invariably, disconnect between the company's vision and their core business leads to reduced productivity and innovation, and the reason for this is that management cannot effectively articulate to employees how the company's activities will produce a future state of profitability, market share growth, or competitive advantage.

Question IV

As Mentor Graphics made the vision adjustments over the decade the pattern was one of upheaval and sharp changes in direction. "Six Boxes" and "10X Imperative" are examples of vision initiatives that focused on process rather than projecting forward looking views of the future. Successful vision statements and their concomitant strategies; "define specific outcomes, articulating how the organization will progress toward the future" (Palmer, I. 2008). Mentor Graphics crafted vision statements which only encompassed the current set of endogenous and exogenous forces which they faced. The "Beat Daisy" statement exemplifies this problem in that only a short time horizon was considered and only one factor of Porter's Five Forces model was utilized, the competitive rivalry… [END OF PREVIEW]

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