I have always struggled with mission statements, finding them in the main pointless. I once asked a group of executives if they could quote their mission statements. Not one offered to even have a go.
When creating a Vision, Mission and Values, I adopt the following, which has always worked, both emotionally (buy in) and literally (results)
Beginning with the vision, making clear where you are headed is key to all employees. If they are not clear where they are going they are more likely to get lost!
For the vision to be believable, and gain buy, in it has to be achievable. Conquering World markets may take a tad longer than conquering National markets, which in turn may take longer than Regional and so on.
I have found that 2 to 3 year Visions are more appropriate to start ups and fledglings. A lot can change for a start up in the first couple of years and this necessitates flexibility.
Having clarified the destination I find it helpful to visualise this as a FLAG. It is a future goal which we should all be headed towards.
Moving on I see no value in a Mission statement, instead I ask directors to create their own department strategies which using the Flag and destination analogy become the VEHICLES by which I will arrive at my destination. Assuming there are several directors I ask them to coordinate their strategies with each other to make sure there are no conflicts (A finance strategy of managing risk may be at odds with a retail strategy of margin reduction for growth)
So I now have a FLAG (my destination) and some VEHICLES (my transport)
Now all I need is some Values. Not quite so easy.. Values as a term have been sadly abused and neglected. Often seen as upward focused instead of Culture focused, which would make them 360 degrees.
But we have to have a DRIVERS MANUAL. After all it is no good setting off towards our destination if we do not know how to drive.
To me this is a vital part of the triangle. Your Values should form the roots of the organisation, without clear values, if it grows at all, your company will grow in an uncontrolled way. The behaviours that will thrive will be all of those you do not want, Blame, Bullying, non Ownership etc, etc.
I have developed over the past 20 years a culture model, which goes under the Acronym of I.O.U.C.H.A.P and I mention this because of the point Richard Branson makes in his article on Mission statements about the coat of arms (www.entrepreneur.com/article/227507#comments).
I use my culture model as a relationship review. It is not a performance review, which may be separate. It works as a 360 degree relationship review and has the effect of auditing the culture which exists throughout the organisation.
The shield point comes in because in determining a culture I can then visualise the characteristics of a person who may be able to live in the desired environment and then I can go and find them.
My shield has in its quarters, Rodin’s Thinker, a Lion, Hands shaking (in partnership not nerves) and a Profit graph. Holding the shield I have a Kestrel and an Ant and the Moto (loosely translated to Latin) is “protests facers” or “Can Do”
I actually wanted “non dico non potest” or “Don’t say Can’t” which I thought was more to the point but the publishers of my book (Creating a Thinking Organization) were not happy with the double negative!
Anyway there you have it a Vision (FLAG) a Strategy (VEHICLE) and some liveable Values (DRIVERS MANUAL) Together they will help your business grow.
Now we just need great weather!