What will you use to measure whether you are on the right path to success?
How will you know you are making a difference?
…By the Vision that you set and the Mission that you pursue daily!
While any business can document systems and create a strategic plan, the key question is always: how will you get anyone in your business to adopt and follow these systems?
The answer is alignment and culture. Your Vision, Mission, Purpose and Core Values define the culture in your business and will drive its success, they provide alignment to your team as a north point to refer to when times get tough… And they will get tough.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” (Simon Sinek). Sinek states that people in an organisation which lacks a clear Vision, Mission, Purpose and Core Values, often require a lot of external motivation to keep the team moving forward. If the members of your team live and operate from a place of clear purpose then they are inspired every day to give 100% of effort. So if you give your team a higher purpose, it provides them a clear a source for inspiration.
Vision is ‘where you are going’. It is about the value you want to give to the world. It is ‘one day, if my business is successful, people’s lives will be better in this way’. It’s a euphoric state that you will contribute to. It shouldn’t contain your product or your brand. For example, if I sold shoes, my vision could be: “that everyone could experience comfortable feet, every day”.
A mission however, is how you go about achieving your vision. The way you go about doing things everyday. If you simply keep doing your mission every day, you will achieve your Vision. To continue with our shoes example: “Through understanding the pains experienced by everyday people, we will identify the source of discomfort and provide well researched, highly supportive yet practical and functional footwear so our customers can focus on what they love to do while on their feet.”
A simple example comes from my time in the army, where, as a young platoon commander I was given my “Mission”… To capture and secure an asset / to seek and destroy… We were given these missions regularly, and if we (and the other units) successfully achieved our missions, we would ultimately achieve a far greater vision that would benefit everyone whether in the armed forces or not, and that was… “Protecting the interests of Australia and our people”.
Both the Vision and Mission should not be focussed on a product or your brand, as markets change and new technology is created every day. To have a vision that your product would be the best and used all throughout the world is an inward facing vision, and when technology creates a better way of doing things, you will be left with product that is no longer of any use… This is what happened to Kodak and Garmin. If you remain focussed on how your customers’ needs, then the market can change and you will move with it as your focus isn’t ‘how to get my product into everyone’s hands’ but ‘how can I help make life better for those around me’. It is this focus that a good Vision and Mission will bring. (I say good as there are many bad examples of Visions and Missions).
What is the difference between a Vision and a Mission?
|Answers: Why we exist?||Answers: How do we behave?|
|Brings alignment||It is “what we do”|
|Is a roadmap||Is a compass|
|Generates wider aspirations||Is the “Plan” at its highest level|
|Has wider impacts than you aim to create||Has tangible goals|
|Contains current and future objectives||Is practical things to do to achieve your Vision|
|Aspirational, Inspirational & Motivational||Is Customer centric|
|Some Day||Every Day|
So, how do I identify my Vision?
Your vision needs to be written in ordinary, everyday language that is meaningful to both you, your employees and your customers. It needs to create buy-in amongst these groups, so they want to be a part of what you are doing. This creates loyalty. If you’re customers we to simply come to you because you are the cheapest… You will be forever dropping your prices to beat the price of your cheapest competitor. If however, your customers buy from you because they love what you do and why you do it… They will come to you regardless of the price of your competition.
Ask yourself the 5 whys.
Drill down and get to the root of why do you do what you do.
- Why are you doing this?
- Why did you create the company?
- Why are you doing it now?
- What do you plan on achieving by doing this?
- What problems do you solve?
Inspiration is generated by a clear purpose and vision is what separates our best leaders from the rest. Inspiration is what creates the highest levels of engagement from employees and team members. It is also what creates loyalty within your employees. Just like customers who chase the lowest price… If your employees come to you as your wages were the best they could get at the time, they will find someone who pays them better, and they will move through your business much faster than you’d like them to.
A vision is like a Just Cause, it is:
- For something — affirmative and optimistic
- Inclusive — open to all those who would like to contribute (inside and outside your business)
- Service oriented — for the primary benefit of others
- Resilient — able to endure political, technological and cultural change
- Idealistic — big, bold and ultimately unachievable
Allocate some time in your day to be creative (preferably the other end of the day when you find yourself more productive – for example, if you are very productive in the mornings, the evening is when you’ll be most creative), and while standing or walking (as we are far more creative when standing and more-so when walking than when we’re sitting), and make notes on the above questions. Think about what excites you and makes you say “I had a great day at work today”.
Some people create a Vision Board, with notes from strategic plans, images of dreams or other successful businesses or things that inspired you to create the business in the first place. Note the items on this page that you would identify as the ‘core of your business’. How do you help your customers and inspire your employees?
Seek feedback on your Vision Statement… Does it invoke the emotion in others that it invokes in you?
It is important to note that the creation of a good vision statement occurs over a period of time. Create one, and let it site for a few weeks. Revisit it at a later point and see if it invokes the same emotion it did when you created it originally. If it doesn’t (which it probably won’t), spend some more time on it until you think you’ve got it right this time. Repeat this process until you find the words that consistently make you think “Yeah!”.
Note also, that the time will come when you may need to change your vision… So don’t feel it needs to remain forever.
How do I Identify my Mission?
As stated above, the mission statement is the “how”… How you will act today, how you will achieve your vision. So you need to have a Vision Statement before you can work on your Mission Statement.
Again, identify when you are most creative and whilst standing or walking, identify what you consider the way by which you do business. What fundamentally do you do to deliver your service or product. What makes you proud to see people doing, and how do you wish everyone would operate? Conversely, ask yourself what is not acceptable? How do you specifically not want to operate, and what is the opposite to that?
The mission statement must remain customer centric, ie focussed on the customers and how you need to treat them to be able to make your vision a reality.
From experience, the mission is much easier for people to create than the vision. It is easy to think about the things relating to how you want to operate “with integrity, quality, precision and to continuously improve”… These are all about how you do what you do. They are part of a mission statement. The vision is a description of what it could be like in the future if you’re successful.
Examples of Great Vision and Mission Statements:
V – “to provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
M – “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
V – “Reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind.”
M – “Drive advances in science, technology, aeronautics, and space exploration to enhance knowledge, education, innovation, economic vitality, and stewardship of Earth.”
V – “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
M – “To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.”
V – “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.” *If you have a body, you are an athlete
M – “Create ground breaking sports innovations, make our products sustainably, build a creative and diverse global team, and make a positive impact in communities where we live and work.”
V – “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
M – “Offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
V – “Italian Excellence that makes the world dream.”
M – “We build cars, symbols of Italian excellence the world over, and we do so to win on both road and track. Unique creations that fuel the Prancing Horse legend and generate a “World of Dreams and Emotions”.”
Great books that provide further clarity to the subject include:
Prove It – Stacey Barr
The Culture Code – Daniel Coyle
The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek
Traction – Gino Wickman
The Advantage – Patrick Lencioni
Good to Great – Jim Collins
Scale It – Verne Harnish
The Systems Mentor helps businesses both small and large to document and optimise their systems so they perform better. Specifically, businesses working with The Systems Mentor achieve the following results:
- Improved Lead Generation and Sales,
- Increased Profitability,
- Better Reliability and Consistency of Quality in Delivery,
- More consistent Compliance,
- Aligned and tighter Team Culture and
- Customer Experience.
If you would like to talk about the content above for tips or even to get assistance on how to improve the systems within your business or team, contact us on the link below.