STRATEGIC VISION, MISSION AND BUSINESS CORE VALUES
We often hear the expressions, Strategic Vision, Mission statement and Core Values for businesses. These are most used by companies involved in a CSR program. Though, do we truly know what these words mean? How come even though the terms are massively overused, Strategic Vision, Mission statement and Core Value definition are essential to properly start and develop a business?
“Strategic Vision is tightly related to business owners’ personal ambitions” – Nathalie Daouda
I talk about the 9 challenges of 21st century businesses in the strategic planning white book part 3. That approach of business reinforces how and why it is so important to design a good Strategic Vision, a clear Mission statement and strong Core Values.
STRATEGIC VISION IS TIGHTLY RELATED TO BUSINESS OWNERS’ PERSONAL AMBITIONS
Every corporation project is based on the business owners’ dreams and ambitions. This is basic fact, but we all have a tendency to forget it. But corporations do not evolve on their own will. Nor does the market. Businesses and markets are influenced by actual living, feeling and breathing men and women.
This is why it is so important that the Strategic Vision structuring the corporation, be based on the true market opportunity identified during the market study.
WHAT EXACTLY IS THE STRATEGIC VISION FOR A CORPORATION?
In the business world, the Strategic Vision is a superior and unifying idea. Business owners use it to mobilize human, material and financial resources, in order to convert the market opportunity.
But I want to dig a little further, in order to see things more clearly. Bear in mind that the market opportunity was originally identified by one or more people. They could have simply moved on with their lives. Rather, they chose to act on that opportunity.
Why? Why take so much risk and engage into entrepreneurship instead of remaining in one’s comfort zone. Do you see where I am coming from?
“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. – Muhammad Ali
IN OTHER WORDS, THE CORPORATE STRATEGIC VISION SERVES THE GOALS OF THE PERSONAL VISION OR DREAM OF THE ENTREPRENEUR.
There is nothing good or bad about that. It’s just something everyone should be aware of, and make sure to act accordingly. Because, if that causation is not properly acknowledged and undertaken, the management decisions could be confusing for team members and stakeholders. Inevitably, discrepancies between the management team’s personal goals and the company’s goals, generate inconsistencies in decision makings and day-to-day work processes.
This highlights two major subjects of entrepreneurship Self-knowledge, and interpersonal communication. It is important to know yourself very well, if you intend to be a performing entrepreneur. Among other things, it helps you be perfectly aware and at peace with your own ambitions. This is how you will be able to choose how and by whom you need to be surrounded with.
Having interpersonal communication skills will help you transmit the right information, to the right set of people, at the right time. You need that if you want to have people commit to your project in the most efficient way.
THE COMPANY MISSION STATEMENT OR, THE PURPOSE OF THE ORGANIZATION FOR BOTH THE MARKET AND STAKEHOLDERS.
There is often a confusion between the Mission and the goals of a corporation. The Mission is the true purpose of the corporation, for the stakeholders and consumers.
- Teams and management are gathered to serve the targeted market with a solution that addresses the needs and expectations expressed during the market study.
- Doing this, they are expected to responsibly use (ethics, return on investment, ecology etc.) the resources available to produce and bring the solution to the market.
- It is rather easy to phrase a Mission statement, because it’s a promise you make to the market and stakeholders. It only becomes difficult when you begin to implement that promise.
You know your market and its potential, but you also need to consider and act according to the inherent constraints. This is why a thoroughly designed and strong strategic plan is so important.
When a business owner is confused expressing his/her company’s Mission, I tend to jump to the conclusion that the strategic plan is not thorough enough. The more precise the plan is, the easier it becomes to extract a realistic promise you can share and stand for.
CORPORATE CORE VALUES ARE ONE OF THE CEMENTS FOR TEAM BUILDING.
Shared values are part of the 7 keys success factors for business, according to McKinsey.
It’s not a coincidence, because like I said earlier, real flesh and blood human beings compose a corporation. Businesses operations are the result of all the energies, time, intellectual contribution, physical and financial resources put together. Humans being the heart of the model, it is natural that a professional community emerges, that obeys the same principles and rules of all other human communities.
LET’S BE THOROUGH. WHAT EXACTLY IS A COMMUNITY?
The French definition from the “Petit Larousse” says that the word community, refers to a group of people, united by mutual interest links, common habits, opinions or physical similarities. So, based on that definition, in the corporation context, we create communities mostly united by economic interest. At first sight, we share financial interests with our colleagues. But the Vision and Mission of the company could add more grounds, if people really commit to the corporation ultimate purpose. This will depend on the management’s ability to convince team members and partners to commit to one Vision and Shared Values.
Operating rules within the company are the direct result of the management type implemented by corporate team. Hence, corporate Values are also a reflection of the managers’ personal Values. If not the case, you experience some discrepancies between what is said and what is done. And that can be very confusing for teams and partners. It is difficult to sustainably manage a company in such conditions.
At varying extends, companies experiencing inconsistencies between published Values and applied Values are stressful working places. Relationships between coworkers and with partners are often deleterious and counterproductive. Customer satisfaction is not always a priority for the companies. And this is how we acknowledge dramatic economic or reputation collapses for supposedly “clean” corporations.
“The entrepreneur’s mindset is what sets the business future. It all begins with the entrepreneur’s Vision. That Vision and the entrepreneur’s determination are the seeds.” – Nathalie Daouda
IT’S WHAT THE ENTREPRENEUR WANTS THAT DETERMINES EVERYTHING
If you want to start your business with the best possible chances for success, there are many parameters to consider. Those are more technical and practical aspects of the business, I must say. They are more or less subject to changes along with time. One constant item though, is the entrepreneur. He or she is the fundamental stone of the whole venture. And we should never forget that, because the entrepreneur’s mindset is what sets the business future. It all begins with the entrepreneur’s Vision. That Vision and the entrepreneur’s determination are the seeds.
Everything that comes after, external contributions, opportunities, and coworkers etc…all the resources organize and synchronize around that Vision and determination.
This is why I recommend entrepreneurs to take all necessary time to think about their management style before they engage into business. Because it does require some “alone time” to formulate, understand, appropriate and share their Vision and the company Mission and Core Values.