88% of New Year Resolutions Fail; Paypal’s is no exception!

Are corporate vision statements very similar to New Year resolutions?

This WSJ article by Jonah Lehrer about personal New Year resolutions is quite insightful.

I think this is relevant for organizations also.  I recently looked at Paypal’s vision statement and got a chuckle out of it 🙂

“PayPal is creating a better shopping experience from start to finish, no matter what’s being bought, how it’s being paid for, or where it’s being sold.”

Few random observations about Paypal’s vision statements.

  • Is this an accurate description of the company’s true capabilities and aspirations?
  • Perhaps, as companies become large they start believing that they can solve every problem. Shopping experience is a very broad canvass. People shop for groceries in a mom and pop store to aviation repair parts. How can you get into every purchase transaction and “make it better (3%)”?
  • Will employees and customer care about a long convoluted vision that is impractical? My recent experience disputing a vendor services showed me that Paypal customer service team  clearly understand what they are allowed to do to ‘create a better shopping’ experience for customers like me that made the mistake of purchasing intangible goods!
  • Guy Kawasaki’s advice on keeping these statements to 3 or 4 words is a great advice! It takes true business insights to distill it to a short phrase. Additional advantage is that using fewer words could potentially lower the risk of errors. Do founders of successful companies outsource the job of writing vision statements to fancy big-5 consultants after they cross the billion $ milestones?!
  • What else could Paypal use as the vision statement..

– Follow the money

– Puncture the money pipeline carefully

– Lube the structured transactions

– Create a trusted market place

– Make buying worry-free

Would love to hear your thoughts! What is your company’s vision? Is it relevant to you and your customers?


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