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In his book, Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, shared a management process he developed in the early days of building Salesforce to become an industry leader, he called the process: V2MOM (vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measures).

In Behind the Cloud, he writes:

“I went out to look for help. I sought wisdom from leadership gurus, personal development gurus, and even spiritual gurus. Over time, I realized that many of these seemingly disparate sources shared striking similarities. I looked to employ these common threads in my own work, and over time I developed them into my own management process, V2MOM, an acronym that stands for vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measures”

“This tool (pronounced “V2 mom”) has helped me achieve my goals in my past work and helps make salesforce.com a success. Although there are many leadership paradigms and frameworks available to follow, V2MOM offers a new simplicity. It is easy to digest, unlike other programs that take longer to understand than they do to implement.”

V2MOM enabled me to clarify what I was doing and communicate it to the entire company as well. The vision helped us define what we wanted to do.” It boils down to these five questions, which create a framework for alignment and leadership:

  1. Vision — what do you want to achieve?
  2. Values — what’s important to you?
  3. Methods — how do you get it?
  4. Obstacles — what is preventing you from being successful?
  5. Measures — how do you know you have it?
  • The values established what was most important about that vision; it set the principles and beliefs that guided it (in priority).
  • The methods illustrated how we would get the job done by outlining the actions and the steps that everyone needed to take.
  • The obstacles identified the challenges, problems, and issues we would have to overcome to achieve our vision.
  • Finally, the measures specified the actual result we aimed to achieve; often this was defined as a numerical outcome.

Combined, V2MOM gave us a detailed map of where we were going as well as a compass to direct us there.

“Essentially, V2MOM is an exercise in awareness in which the result is total alignment. In addition, having a clarified direction and focusing collective energy on the desired outcome eliminate the anxiety that is often present in times of change.”

“Salesforce.com’s First V2MOM, 4/12/1999

Vision

Rapidly create a world-class Internet company/site for Sales Force Automation.

Values

1. World-class organization

2. Time to market

3. Functional

4. Usability (Amazon quality)

5. Value-added partnerships

Methods

1. Hire the team

2. Finalize product specification and technical architecture

3. Rapidly develop the product specification to beta and production stages

4. Build partnerships with big e-commerce, content, and hosting companies

5. Build a launch plan

6. Develop exit strategy: IPO/acquisition

Obstacles

1. Developers

2. Product manager/business development person

Measures

1. Prototype is state-of-the-art

2. High-quality functional system

3. Partnerships are online and integrated

4. Salesforce.com is regarded as leader and visionary

5. We are all rich

Create Your Own V2MOM

The beauty of the V2MOM is that the same structure works for every phase in the life cycle of an organization. We’ve used it as a business plan for our start-up, and we find the same construct to be effective for outlining the annual goals of a public company.

Think about your overall organizational goals or a present-day challenge within your organization, and discover how you can outline the steps to succeed in your effort through the V2MOM process. You might have more than one answer to each question; be sure to prioritize your answers:

VISION (What do you want?):

________________________________________

VALUES (What’s important about it?):

________________________________________

METHODS (How do you get it?):

________________________________________

OBSTACLES (What might stand in the way?):

________________________________________

MEASURES (How will you know when you have it?):

“From the very beginning, we’ve had a V2MOM at salesforce. com, and we’ve always kept it updated. It is a living document. It’s my responsibility to write the V2MOM, and then I work with the rest of the people at our company to make it as accurate as possible. I rewrite the V2MOM every six months, which helps me gain personal clarity as well as communicate with the company.

This process of constant iteration is critical to making the V2MOM accurate as well as to integrate these ideas into our corporate consciousness.

“Without a doubt, this process has been our best-kept secret to the fast growth and excellence we have achieved. Reading the Vision statements through a sampling of years illustrates the goals of our company at various points in time. We have been able to reach these goals because our vision—and a way to achieve it—was defined and communicated.”

Vision Statements

  • 1999-Rapidly create a world-class Internet company /site for Sales Force Automation.
  • 2002-Global leadership in proving the “software as service” model driven by an enthusiastic and wildly successful customer community, and energized by world-class employees.
  • 2004-Dominate the software as a service market by doubling our enthusiastic and wildly successful global customer community through flawless execution of our proven model.
  • 2006-Deliver trusted customer and partner success globally, and accelerate our growth as the unrivaled on-demand standard for The Business Web through efficient execution.
  • 2009-Create wildly successful customers, secure every renewal, and grow our customer relationships through the Service Cloud and Force.com. Increase the productivity of every employee and every department, to gain market share and dominate enterprise cloud computing.

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.