Role of Vision at Mentor Graphics Essay

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Role of Vision at Mentor Graphics Introduction For organizational change to be successful it is imperative that the vision is right. Burt Nanus, an expert in the subject, defines a vision as a realistic, credible, attractive future for [an] organization (Strategic vision, 2011). As the visions at Mentor Graphics changed, so did the future of the organization. “Revisioning” is important as the organization changes, but to many changes and/or not changing the vision fast enough created issues for Mentor Graphics. How Vision Was Used Mentor graphics was formed in the early 1980’s and since that time has had over seven different visions.

The visions had been used as a guide to decision-making and referenced what their future should be. One of the visions was “Beat Daisy. ” This was what they wanted their future to be and they successfully did “Beat Daisy. ” Visions as defined by Pendlebury, Grouard, and Meston has three components – the problem, the solution, and the means (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). The problem is why the change is needed, the solution is the aim of the change, and the means is the change actions that will be taken (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009).

Each of these components was incorporated in Mentor Graphics visions, yet it was lost upon the way as the company changed. Strengthen or Weaken? The multiple visions both strengthened and weakened the company. The visions strengthened the company by being able to connect the vision to the organizations inner voice. This was true with most of the visions, with the exception of two of them. The “10X Imperative” and “Changing the Way the World Designs Together” were not understood by customers and had little to do with the actual business that Mentor Graphics was operating.

This was a weakness in the organization in that it didn’t’ portray what the CEO or president wanted to convey. It did strengthen the company in that many of its visions were based on “beating” its competitors. The visions had a good relationship of vision to market strategy. To create a competitive advantage, “vision and strategy must be unconventional, often counterintuitive, and differentiation from those of other companies (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). ” The visions during the formation of the company were based upon being better than their competitors.

This way of thinking helped Mentor Graphics beat the revenues of their competitor Daisy and then they changed it to get market leadership in six different businesses. A weakness was when they stalled to using Sun platforms, because of the existence of their vision – “Six Boxes. ” This vision was developed to represent six different businesses in which they sough market leadership. Unfortunately one of the businesses, computer-aided publishing, was not paying dividends. Mentor Graphics felt it could not shut it down because it would be left with only “Five Boxes. ” This delay caused them to stall on starting the new platform.

It is important to adapt to new situations and environments, and overhaul them to become more relevant (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). Not adapting to computer-aided publishing not paying its dividends and “sticking” to its vision ultimately weakened Mentor Graphics momentarily. Why Visions Fail There are many reasons why visions fail and Mentor Graphics has dealt with many of these in their vision failures. One of the reasons was mentioned earlier when they didn’t adapt when computer-aided publishing did not pay its dividends causing that vision to be not applicable.

This could be also viewed as too disconnected from the present. This didn’t allow for current obstacles so that they can be achievable and believable (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). When computer-aided publishing caused issues, the vision made it so they couldn’t shut it down, disrupting the ability to make sound financial judgments. However, Mentor Graphics did change its vision once they “Beat Daisy” which allowed them to focus on a different vision. As some of the visions were changed as the company grew and fulfilled the visions, others did fail.

The reasons were: •Too complex – Even though the “10X Imperative” mirrored what other companies were making toward quality through six-sigma programs, it was difficult for customers to understand the vision, as it was too difficult to understand. •Irrelevant – The vision “Changing the Way the World Designs Together” was not depicting what Mentor Graphics actually did or was going to do. The picture was clear, yet not strongly attached to the business. •Blurred – all of the visions could arguably have been blurred as there was no clear picture of the future.

The “Beat Daisy” was a great vision to have, but didn’t give any clear direction once that was accomplished. •Inadequate – Many of the visions only partially addressed the problem it was directed towards (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). This is why there were so many visions in such a short time frame. Issues of Vision Visions were changed throughout Mentor Graphics’ years, allowing them to direct their forces and efforts at different areas throughout their years. Mentor Graphics could be viewed as a bold organization in that it had low resources buy high acceptance of the need for change (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009).

The problem is it lacked visionary leadership at times. The visions seemed to change because they “produced” a crises situation through their visionary rather than waited for one to appear (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). This happened during the “10X Imperative” and the “Changing the Way the World Designs Together. ” This context affected the vision. The way the visions emerge is difficult to obtain by the lack of information in the case study, however it could be argued that it was a facilitation approach at times. In 1985, staff approached Langler stating that the vision needed changed.

This hopefully led to “co-creating” with the staff and Langler. This could lead to more people willing to act in accordance with it as they had “buy-in (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). ” A benchmarking approach was used throughout the visions as it referred to its competitors, Daisy and the “Six Boxes. ” The visions were problematic for Mentor Graphics and caused the company to lose its way – caught up in a vicious cycle of changing visions. Visions not only need to give direction, but connect with people’s desires, feelings, and ambitions (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009).

This wasn’t accomplished. Mentor Graphics would benefit from their visions helping “people to explore new ‘ways of seeing’ their everyday organizational world (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). ” Implications Vision is linked to organizational change. It is the need for change that creates the vision. After Mentor Graphics’ first vision, “Build Something That People Will Buy,” the vision “Beat Daisy” was developed. This was important, as it was the first step needed in organizational change. This vision provided clarity about their goal – beat their competitor. Beat Daisy” could also be considered a strategic intent. A strategic intent “envisions a desired leadership position and establishes the criterion the organization will use to chart its progress (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). ” This strategic intent expressed what the end product should be, but didn’t describe the steps along the way. The different visions had helped Mentor Graphics, while some may have hindered change. It helped change in that it encircled competitors by gaining greater control of the market, such as the case with Daisy.

It also pointed out deficiencies that they currently have, but not meeting expectations of management and the organization, which a vision at times can point out. It can be argued that strategic visions help to decide which products and markets an organization should pursue (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). Mentor Graphics accomplished this. The visions even though at times helped change, it hindered it due to poor leadership. The vision during the “Six Boxes” caused issues when management become too committed to it and were unwilling to reevaluate it and change it. This disrupted the ability to make sound financial judgments.

The visions became more irrelevant to the company’s core business and the business decisions suffered because of it. Six Change Images The image of change that Mentor Graphics seemed to have followed was that of nurturer. The Nurturer links vision and change as; “Vision is emergent from the clash of chaotic and unpredictable change forces. It may be possible to enact vision for particular periods, but because of shifting, competitive, and fragmented contexts in which organizations operate, visions are likely to be temporary and always in the process of being rewritten (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). The visions were rewritten numerous times in 10 years, which seemed to be from unpredictable change forces. These change forces if looked at from a director image could have possibly been prevented. The vision needed a clear vision aligned with business strategy, mission and goals (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). Conclusion Mentor Graphics suffered from poor leadership and the inability to create visions specific to the company’s core business. The multiple visions were not just changed because they were successful in accomplishing those visions, but because they were not acceptable for the organization.

For Mentor Graphics to have a vision that will create sound business decisions and are relevant to the company, a new visionary is needed. Mentor Graphics needs a vision that is realistic and credible. References: Palmer, I. , Dunford, R. , & Akin, G. (2009). Managing organizational change: A multiple perspectives approach. Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin. Strategic vision. (2011). Retrieved from http://www. au. af. mil/au/awc/awcgate/ndu/strat-ldr-dm/pt4ch18. html

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