Who are you? Where are you headed? What do you value? The Mission, Vision and Values statements of your company are the answers to these questions.
A well written vision and mission statement incorporates the vital goals that define the present and future of the company. They should ultimately tie in to each other and work in harmony to build a solid foundation for your brand.
What Is A Mission Statement?
The mission of your company states what it does and gives all of its members a shared purpose. It’s the reason for your company’s existence.
The mission statement sets the direction for the company. It tells what you do and how it is different from what any other organization offers.
Here are two examples of good mission statements:
- LinkedIn: To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
- Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
According to a Deloitte survey, 76% of the employees believe that a positive work culture is cultivated by a well-defined business strategy.
A perfect mission statement gives you a better understanding of your strategy and goals. Revisiting it from time to time helps you to stay on track.
“Mission drives and improves engagement”, says William Craig in his post for Forbes. He is the founder of WebFX which has been named as the best workplace in PA for three consecutive years.
How To Write A Mission Statement?
A good mission statement is able to answer two very basic but significant questions about your company: Why does it exist, and how is it different?
Being able to answer these with a perfect blend of realism and optimism can help you create a very effective mission statement. Let’s go over the process step by step.
Define What Your Company Does
When you sit to write your business’ mission, start by describing what your company does. You’re not supposed to think hard. Just write down literally why you exist.
For example, you could be manufacturing pens or providing social media strategies. That is your company’s primary purpose.
Describe How You Do It
The next step is to write down how you do what you do? Now this is the part that requires more patience.
For this, you need to focus on one of the key elements that should go in your statement - value.
What value are you providing to your employees and customers? What is making you different from other companies?
It could be providing the best quality, focusing on customer relations or practicing eco friendly, sustainable ways. Here’s what your progress might look like after the first two steps:
My company’s purpose is to provide educational services so that every child can be successful.
Explain Your ‘Why’
At this point, your focus needs to go to why you do what you do? According to me, this part is the most important in your statement.
It states the motivation, the passion behind your business. Here are a few other key elements, apart from value, that need to be incorporated.
Inspiration: First element is inspiration. What is it that will attract the people to work for you, or buy from you?
Believability: Secondly, you need to make it sound reasonable. It’s okay to add that extra touch of emotions, but do make it sound believable.
For example, after adding the “why” your company’s statement could be:
My company’s purpose is to manufacture pens of the best quality so that people can write their dreams in a flow.
Review Your Statement
Once you’ve reached this stage, it’s time to review. Make sure it’s short but is telling your story. And do not be afraid to change it till you are satisfied.
Polish it as much as you want. Then just take a deep breath and put it up for the world to know. Also, a pro tip - a small discussion with your employees about the same never hurts.
What Is A Vision Statement?
The vision statement describes what your company aspires to be and what it wants to achieve. It inspires and challenges the employees.
A few examples of an ideal vision statement are:
LinkedIn: To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
Intel: We are on a journey to be the trusted performance leader that unleashes the potential of data.
A 2018 Employee Retention Report by Tiny Pulse suggests that employees are 27% more likely to stay in an organization that has broader goals outside of profit margins.
The vision statement promotes the growth of the company. If the company vision and mission statements are written wisely they can help drive your goals.
How To Write A Vision Statement?
A common mistake that people make while forming their vision statement is making it too ‘visionary’. While it has to be about where you aspire to be, an unrealistic statement will do no good to your company.
Struggling to come up with a good vision statement? Here are a few steps that will definitely help you:
Define Your Output
You need to start by defining your output and determining the uniqueness of it. Whatever it is that you do, there is always an output. By this, I do not mean the product or service you’re producing.
For example, as a cafe your output isn’t coffee. It is the satisfaction people get after drinking that coffee.
There is always going to be something about your business that makes it stand out. What is it that gives you an edge over your competitors?
Highlighting this point in your vision statement can create a better impact on the readers.
Look Into The Future
Now is the time to look into the future. Imagine what it’s like five or ten years down the lane. Do you want your business to thrive? How will it happen? What will it feel like?
Being able to visualize your future and what you want in it is majorly what your vision is about. Your statement has to be futuristic but not unrealistic. Keeping this in mind, write down where it is that you’re headed.
Do not be too specific. Just a broad idea of where you want to be. For example, spreading your cafe in all the metropolitan cities of the country is a good plan.
Another example is Ikea’s statement.
Also, make your goal measurable and feasible. It should give you a sense of how you would know when your vision is successful.
Make It Imaginable
It’s always better to write something that triggers imagination. If people can imagine while reading it, the impact is different.
For example, consider these two statements:
- Every working person should use our company’s laptop.
- Our company’s laptop on every desk.
While there is no mistake in any of the two, the second statement triggers imagination and hence is more memorable. The first statement is a little more technical and thus difficult to imagine.
Also, do not forget to consider your company type, size, structure and competition. Keeping these in mind you will be able to create a practical vision statement.
What Is A Values Statement?
A values statement is one that explains the beliefs and philosophy of your company. Therefore, writing it with full understanding of your goals and in a way that it aligns with the vision and mission becomes a must.
It lists down the principles that direct the organisation’s culture.
For example, a few of the core values of Google are-
- Focus on the user and all else will follow.
- It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
- Fast is better than slow.
You can read more of these here.
The values of your company are your beliefs. For example, Levi Strauss’ core value’s are such that don’t allow the use of child labour. This value was put to test when they realised that one of their contractor’s was hiring children for work.
The solution was not as simple as firing the contractor or making him get rid of child workers. Some of these children were the only source of income for their families.
Ultimately, they came up with a perfect solution. They kept paying the children their salaries, except this time it wasn’t for working but for studying.
As you see from this story, having a clear-cut set of core values adds to the name and fame of the company and provides guidelines for its decision making.
Moreover, 88% of the employees believe that a strong company culture is the key to business success, according to a Deloitte survey.
In his post, Nicolas Schoenlaub, VP - Global HR, HRConsulative.com, mentioned:
Core values are becoming primary recruiting and retention tools.
How To Write A Values Statement?
Values form the soul of your company. Creating a value statement according to what you truly believe in, and living by it is essential for your goodwill.
Although there is no specific way of deciding the values you want to abide by, the following steps can guide you in the right direction:
List Down What Is Important
The first step is to make a list of what is important to you as a company. Ideally, this should be discussed with all the members of the organization.
Write down the behaviour and the kind of attitude you want to be guided by. It’s good to first understand the company culture you have and then list down what you like in it and what is it that you would want to change.
For example, to act with honesty and integrity, to be innovative, to practice sustainability could be a few. You can also read from a list of core values and decide what works the best for you.
Make sure you write down what your core beliefs are and rank them in order of importance. This step will give you a lot of clarity about what is guiding you currently and what you want differently.
Eliminate The Extras
Now is the time to go through the list you made and cross off all the extras. You don’t want to write the values that are too generic and are included in every company’s statement.
That will make your statement boring and easily forgettable. Keep the values that are important to you. Ideally, you should narrow it down to a list of five values.
For example, “We are reliable and consistent pen manufacturers” is quite cliche.
On the other hand, a good example is “We create pens that inspire people to elevate their writing experience.”
Make It Concise
Your statement should be concise. You want to convey your beliefs but without using too many words. You want it to be easily understandable and striking.
Using a lot of details might lead to the reader just skimming through your statement without actually reading it. We don’t want that, right?
The G2 core values are a good example of this.
What To Do Now?
Lastly, it’s time to spread the word. Once you have prepared your mission, vision and values statement, it’s time to display them.
There is no correct location to display your statements. Who you’re targeting is what should define where they should be. For example, you can display them in your meeting rooms or your careers page.
The more you educate people about your mission, vision and values, and the more your leadership lives up to them, the more your staff will believe in them.
Values, Vision and Mission statements are definitely one of the best ways to write your business’ story, isn’t it?
In a nutshell, mission, vision and values communicate the organization’s objectives and aspirations in just a few words.
It unites and influences your company’s mental state and it’s ideal image. Now that you know the drill, go ahead and define your business’ motive!
Did I miss anything? Did you try these steps? Do you have any questions or comments? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.