Mission/Vision/Values, the guiding principles of your organization & the starting line for your Strategic Planning Process
These three words and their respective statements will guide your organization through its long term strategy, long term goal setting, short term objectives, and how it will conduct its business in order to fulfill the mission and ultimately reach the vision.
I recently sent an outline to a new client for their strategic planning process. The very first items to discuss with their leadership team and board are their Mission, Vision and Value statements. The follow-up conversation with the executive in charge was all about how they frame the strategic planning process. As I explained each individual statements role in the leadership and management of the business it occurred to me this conversation would be a great blog topic to share with my world.
Mission. What is our purpose, what is your reason for being, who and why do we serve. A Mission Statement should be relatively static and should be the guiding principles as to why the organization exists and why it does what it does. In the nonprofit or 501(C)-(3) world mission statements are often synonymous with the stated purpose in their Articles of Incorporation. Mission Statements can be relatively short, here are a few examples.
Expedia+ the internet travel company mission statement is: To Revolutionize travel through the Power of Technology.
The Mission Statement of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center where I once served as Vice-Chair remains the same since it’s inception in 1976, and is still relevant 40 years later: “Our mission is is to expand the potential of people of all abilities through meaningful, educational, and inspiring outdoor experiences.”
Headframe Spirits has aligned themselves very closely with preserving the historical importance of the city of Butte, Montana where it is located , here is their Mission Statement: “To produce quality spirits, to promote responsible alcohol consumption, to create jobs in our community and to use the history and culture of Butte Montana to inform our production and product marketing. We live in a wonderful place and our craftsmanship should reflect positively upon it.”
The Mission Statement for Kampgrounds of America is: “To make Happy Campers that recommend KOA to others”
The Mission Statement for The Women’s Fund, a non-profit organization, is brief and to the point “The Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region, Inc., invests in women and girls through:
Vision. Companies often stop at their mission statement but the Vision Statement is what the world or organization would look like once the mission is fulfilled. The Vision Statement reflects what your organization ultimately wants to achieve. The Vision Statement can be something that is ultimately achievable or can be a dream that may not be achieved in the current staffing lifetime but is still ultimately worth striving for. Vision Statements may or may not change over time. Essential elements of a successful Vision Statement are:
- Future oriented
- Likely to lead to a better future for the organization
- Fits the organization’s history, mission and values
- Sets standards of excellence
- Clarifies the organization’s purpose and direction
- Inspires enthusiasm and commitment
- Reflects the uniqueness of the organization
As an example Ford Motor Company’s original Vision Statement was to “Democratize the Automobile”, today it is “To become the world’s leading consumer company for automotive products and services”.
The Ronald McDonald House Vision Statement is: A world where all children have access to medical care, and their families are supported and actively involved in their children’s care.
The Vision Statement of the Red Lodge Songwriter Festival one of my companies is: Our vision is to create an annual event that brings tourists and songwriters, including hit makers, to Red Lodge each summer to share their talent and skills with the local community. Through this interaction of songwriters and their music we will create an inspirational culture that promotes creativity in songwriting, performing, and collaboration among the artists.
Values. How do we want to conduct ourselves in our business and personal life. This should be the guiding principle on how leadership conducts
themselves in their business dealings and is reflective of how the outside community views the organization. Words like honesty, integrity, caring, transparency, knowledgeable are often reflected in value statements.
I’ll use Expedia again as an example. They call their values Cultural Norms which is a great name. If the company abides by its values statement that is what creates the culture.
“We believe being different: We feel new ideas, different ways of thinking, diverse backgrounds and approaches, because averages can lie and sameness is dangerous. Because of this belief, our norms aren’t rules or universal at all corners of our company, But they are important to our identity and how we work together. Like our company, these norms will evolve.
- We Lead Humbly: Our leaders serve their teams. None of us has all the answers, but we are curious and we are always looking to learn. Though our leaders take their responsibility to our business and their teams incredibly seriously, they never take themselves too seriously.”
- We are transparent: We communicate openly and honestly, at all levels, upwards, sideways, and downwards. We surface difficult issues quickly, we act, we learn.”
- We Organize for Speed: We seek to gather data as fast as possible, and move. Speed allows us to make mistakes and constantly improve.
- We Believe in the Scientific Method: Everyone’s ideas are equal in the face of hard data. We use data to guide but not define our actions.
- We Act as One Team: We look to optimize for the greater good, not just our own, or even our own teams’ interests. We are actively interested in the success of others.”
The following is the Values Statement for Women’s Fund, A non-profit Organization for Women
- Our core values are the foundation of all our decisions and actions. We intend this statement of values to be used across the organization to ensure that our decisions and actions are consistent with and supportive of our values and beliefs.
- We believe that in order to create a just and sustainable society, women and girls must have opportunities, unlimited by gender, to develop and use their individual talents, abilities, and skills, along with the freedom to make their own decisions, guided by their personal values and beliefs.
- We express our values by promoting and supporting open and respectful communication in all forums;
- Full participation of women and girls of all backgrounds, including diversity of race, class, age, religion, culture, sexual orientation, and other identities;
- Informed, educated, innovative action designed to have a positive, measurable impact on the lives of women and girls;
- Collaboration among organizations and individuals working to benefit women and girls.
Whether you’re a for profit or nonprofit corporation having a mission, vision and value statement will guide you through your Strategic Planning, goal setting, day to day execution and ultimately permeate throughout your organization making you a more profitable, more sustainable and much more successful.
There may be a strong person within your organization that can lead you through the Strategic planning process however using an outside facilitator can
often lead to better results in a shorter amount of time. An outside facilitator can help drive the process without influencing the content, remain objective, and will not try to influence the conversation. Beartooth Business Consulting is well versed in the processes necessary to make your organization stronger and more efficient with Strategic Planning. Give us a call to discuss how to implement Strategic Planning in your organization. Give me a call at 406-690-5988 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mike Booth, President