These are the five questions Salesforce asks itself before every big decision

Parker Harris with Marc Benioff on stage at Dreamforce 2014
Parker Harris with Marc Benioff on stage at Dreamforce 2014 Youtube

On June 22, 2004, the night before going public, Salesforce executives had a private dinner at an upscale Asian restaurant called Tao in New York City.

The dinner was to celebrate its IPO, one of the biggest moments in any company’s history. But Salesforce cofounder Parker Harris also wanted to use it as a chance to thank cofounder and CEO Marc Benioff.

So before the dinner was over, Harris walked up to Benioff and gave him a gift: a framed American Express envelope.

It was the envelope Benioff had used to scribble down Salesforce’s first-ever V2MOM — a list of management guidelines that stands for vision, values, methods, obstacles, and measures — when launching the company in 1999.

“I did throw that envelope in the drawer and saved it. It was pretty cool to do something before an event like that,” Harris told Business Insider.

Created by Benioff from a process he learned at Oracle, V2MOM has been the guiding process in every major company decision at Salesforce from day one. Benioff writes in his book, “Behind the Cloud,” that Salesforce never really had organizational charts or key performance indicators — instead, it has relied mostly on the V2MOM.

So how exactly does it work? You simply have to answer the following five questions:

  • Vision: What do you want to do?
  • Values: What’s most important about that vision?
  • Methods: How do you get the job done?
  • Obstacles: What challenges, problems, and issues might stand in the way?
  • Measures: How will you know when you’ve succeeded?

Every company has different characteristics and this method may not be ideal for all of them. But if success is any indicator, Salesforce is a pretty good guidepost — after only 15 years, it’s worth $US35 billion and has become the largest tech employer in San Francisco. Pretty amazing for an enterprise software company.

Here’s what Benioff wrote on Salesforce’s first-ever V2MOM:

Salesforce V2MOM

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