Mission, Vision, and Values: Planning Essentials
One of the first items on a strategy and planning agenda is to articulate and ensure alignment on three foundational statements: mission, vision, and values. For organizations who have yet to develop these, it can be a challenging exercise. For those who do have them (at least, they appear somewhere) it is interesting to see how many members of the planning team can recite them (or even find them!). We can do better.
Some executives may feel that spending time on mission, vision and values is an esoteric, academic exercise. While they may not refuse to engage in this work, they approach it with bored resignation, waiting to get to the “real work” of planning. When properly done, investing time in discussing, debating, and developing statements of mission, vision, and values can galvanize, focus, and inspire a leadership team while bringing needed energy to the work of planning.
Mission sets the groundwork for strategy and planning. It helps the leadership team think about why the business exists. It can focus on service to stakeholders (those who would feel a sense of loss if the business no longer existed) and how the business will serve the balanced best interests of each group. Mission can address four basic questions: What business are we in? Who are our customers? How do we want our customers to view our company? Why are we in business?
Vision can be described as “a picture of the future we wish to create.” It is aspirational but at the same time, achievable though not easily attained. It is future focused and designed to inspire and bring stakeholders together, united in the quest to create a bigger, better future.
Values speak to the question of “how.” They are not aspirational per se but create a non-negotiable standard of behavior that will guide the decisions of organizational leaders and the performance of all team members. It helps frame “what we will do and what we will not do.” It speaks to the issues of integrity and ethical, honest behavior.
Mission, vision, and values. Essential and foundational elements of strategy and planning.
For more information on strategy and planning and for examples of mission, vision and values statements, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.