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Phi Management Talks Around: Is Having a Vision a Necessity for Success?


Daimler Group, the world’s third-largest premium carmaker appointed Dieter Zetsche as its CEO back in 2006 replacing Jurgen Schrempp; the man behind the takeover of Chrysler. Jurgen's clear vision at that time was to create a globally active vehicle manufacturer.  Ever since Zetsche took over, the company witnessed stability and growth under his reign, which made him win the confidence of the board and resulted in renewing his contract until the end of 2019. He did not only apply a strategy which was aligned with the supervisory board, but also made sure that the employees were enthusiastic, well engaged, and productive under an extremely high demanding work environment. The three most important key factors in Mercedes’ turnaround, as per Zetsche, were design, product portfolio, and a better understanding of China.


Zetsche made a name for himself as a rigorous, hands-on manager, with an ability to cut costs and staff numbers while still being well-liked. As one international investor put it “He has accumulated an extreme amount of goodwill, because he is very affable and nice.” He makes it as a weekly routine to visit the design center or test a newly produced car.


The 2016 report disclosed record earnings, and Zetsche made 2016 another successful year for Daimler. Despite this amazing success of Daimler under Zeutche’s leadership, Daimler appears not to have a clear vision; however, Zetsche counters this criticism by affirming that there is a crystal clear strategy that is being implemented.


The question, however, remains unanswered. What was the vision of Zetsche ever since he was appointed CEO of Daimler? Why was he the only CEO of Daimler without a clearly identified vision? Most importantly, is it necessary always to have a clear vision to lead a company towards success?