The vision and mission direct all subsequent strategic moves. Learn how to examine your vision and mission for contradictions or unproductive buzzwords that could hold your organization back.
- While generating a vision and a mission statement might seem like an intimidating exercise, there's a pretty simply way to do it. First, get the right people in the room. Bring in the head of the organization, people from multiple functions, and look to involve people from multiple levels of the organization. Essentially, what you're going to create is a brainstorming session. Carve out two or three hours to do each of the vision and mission statements. Next, pass out to everyone what exists today. Let them see the current vision, the current mission. Have them identify things that they really like about it and things that they don't. Pass out the SWOT analysis and Porter's five forces to understand what the risks and opportunities are in the marketplace. And then it gets fun. Pick a scribe, preferably somebody who's been a scribe before for brainstorming sessions, and ask people to throw out phrases that describe a vision and a mission for the organization. The scribe shouldn't judge anything. Write down everything everybody in the room says, and you'll know when to stop, when there's a lull. People will generally run out of ideas. Once you hit that lull, go ahead and send everybody out on a break. You, as the scribe, then need to identify the most common phrases, or groupings of phrases, and assemble them into a statement. When you assemble that statement, refine it. Clarify any buzzwords, things like leverage or best in class. Those can be throwaway terms. To the extent that you can put precision to them, you'll have a crisper and more compelling vision and mission statement. And ultimately, you're trying to get down to something that's one or two sentences long, that you can share with the broader team, get their feedback and refine. The way this process might work is you get the team generating those ideas and they start throwing out things that may identify markets or products that you're going to pursue. For my firm, we're a training firm, and when we sat down and laid out our vision and mission, we went through the same exercise. When we looked at the mission of the organization, I asked for ideas and people threw things out like best in class, premium, top end, distinctive. They also threw out training, marketing, getting into new markets, identifying different training opportunities, different classes. People said leadership, decision making, strategy, Excel, PowerPoint, and there were all different words that were coming out, and I captured all of them on a screen. And then we stepped back and we said, "what are the common ones?" And all of a sudden, there were some pretty clear groupings. There were words that all represented the top end of the market versus commodity type of training that was very common in the marketplace. There was a clear type of class that we were going to pursue and other ones that we weren't. And there were clear participants that we wanted in our classroom. When I saw groupings of directors, vice presidents, CEOs, managers, those were much more common types of phrases than call center associate or front line associate. And when we stepped back and looked at all those different groupings, we were able to assemble a mission statement that said we sell leadership training to management and executives, to large corporations throughout the world. But we had to go through that exercise to figure out what the organization stood for. So when you go through this exercise, just capture all the ideas, good, bad and ugly, then step back, look for the synthesis, look for the common themes, and hammer it out into a clear, crisp, compelling vision and mission statement.
- Define the principles of strategic planning.
- Identify forces used to assess the market.
- Explain how to conduct a SWOT analysis.
- Articulate how to establish guiding principles and set goals.
- Explain what strategic filters are used for.
- Describe the steps of a strategic planning process.