HOW TO: Create a Great Vision and Mission in 4 Steps
One of the cornerstones of corporate strategy is the company’s vision and mission. The vision of the company is essentially the overarching “I have a dream” ideology. The mission is how the company plans to act on that vision.
Take Southwest Airlines’ mission, “The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.” Now if you take a step back and think to yourself, what do I want in an airline? If Southwest’s mission sounds like exactly what you would want in an airline, then it could definitely be possible that Southwest’s vision is to be a great, if not the best, airline. See the connection? It is absolutely necessary that your mission be based on your vision, whatever it may be.
Here are four steps to making a great mission statement:
Step 1: What’s your vision? Decide where your passions lie and where you want your company to be. No goal is too great; it is a vision, so make it amazing.
Step 2: After you have a good idea of what is your vision, stop, and decide on the factors that will make that vision a reality. For example, if your vision is, “to be the quick-service restaurant of choice,” than you will have to think of how you could be the quick-service restaurant of choice. I would think that fast, accurate and great service would be at the top of the list for a quick-service restaurant. The point here is you know your industry, so you probably know what factors can make your vision a reality; jot those factors down.
Step 3: Once you know the factors, formulate your mission statement. It doesn’t have to long or metaphoric, just make it to the point incorporating those factors decided upon in Step 2. Continuing with the quick-service example, that mission statement might be, “To offer the best customer service while ensuring accurate and timely orders.” A mission statement is a communicative actionable statement, based off your vision.
Step 4: When you have a great compelling mission statement, display it proudly in your workplace. Communicate your vision with your employees and ensure they live the company’s mission. If you are starting a company this is much easier, you get to start off with a strong vision and mission. If you are changing the vision and mission of the company (or creating one), you may need to implement a change initiative (stay tuned: developing a change initiative will be blogged next week, March 14, 2011) to get your employees on board.
Bottom line: to create a successful company you need a good foundation. If your company has an overarching goal (vision) with a clear actionable way to get there (mission) you can be sure that success will follow.