Welcome to the Vital Integrities Blog

What in their World is Sony Thinking?

How important is having a in business today? Perhaps the leaders of Sony can answer that question. The company recently announced its first quarter results for fiscal 2005: a net loss of $66 million. Add that to the $528 million Sony lost in its fourth quarter ending March 31 and the sum is a once-dominate company spinning into obsolescence.

Experts blame Sony's troubles on business line diversification. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the manufacturer of consumer electronics acquired its way into the record-producing and movie-making industries. Those moves gave Sony ownership in the production of audio and video tapes and cassettes, while the rest of the world was going digital. Reluctant to abandon its dying content, Sony sat holding its Walkmans while Apple's iPods changed the industry.

So what should Sony's new CEO Howard Stringer do to navigate a turnaround? Quoted in a Knowledge@Wharton article, management consultant John Kao, whose San Francisco-based company advises organizations on being more innovative, says that Stringer needs to frame a vision for his company. "Right now I feel like Sony is trying to do everything," say Kao. "Sony's number one challenge is to return to the startling clarity of vision." Adds Kao, Sony's "original goal was to become a global brand, innovate, and succeed where U.S. companies failed. It has to return to fundamentals, harness its resources, and then sell [a new vision and products] to the marketplace."

When organizations lose site of their original mission, leadership vision is of utmost importance. Visionary leaders hold pictures of what the future can be in their minds. Values-based leaders use those mental portraits to navigate their lives. Guided by their visions, values-based leaders are so intent on reaching their goals that others are simply compelled to follow.

Of course, some people confuse the idea of visionary leaders with the image of prophets, futurists, or renegades attempting to attract followers with radical or extreme ideas. Just the opposite is true. Values-based leaders enlist employees by identifying common interests, and showing them how that shared vision will satisfy mutual needs.

So have a vision and convince others to share it.
Bookmark this post on del.icio.us

Vital Integrities Blog - Blogged