Step 4 - Agree the Vision, Mission, Objectives and Values

The keys to creating and sustaining long term value are to understand which are the strategic businesses and to respond to the needs of targeted customers by providing cost effective products and services.

To achieve this, you must have a mission that is understood throughout the organisation. You must also know where you are and where you want to be. Only when you have this knowledge can you take the action necessary to achieve the strategy.

Your mission statement should:

  • express your purpose in a way that inspires support and ongoing commitment
  • motivate people
  • be clearly understood
  • be free of jargon
  • be short enough so that anyone connected to the organisation can readily repeat it.

Every organisation has a vision, a purpose, a reason for being. In many organisations this vision is implicit. Everyone in the organisation thinks they know what "it" is, but finds it difficult to articulate and may have a slightly different view of what "it" looks like.

Most successful organisations have translated that implicit purpose into a clear, concise strategy statement. A good mission statement should accurately explain why your organisation exists and what it hopes to achieve in the future. It articulates the organisation's essential nature, its values, and its work.

A comprehensive strategy can have four components:

  1. a concise vision statement - a simple message that encapsulates the essence of the purpose
  2. a fuller mission statement which explains the purpose in more detail
  3. a statement of the objectives of the company - providing clear, long-term priorities
  4. a description of the values and culture of the organisation and its relationships with stakeholders.

Your mission statement should be reviewed by board or staff members regularly to ensure that it is still valid. If it has been more than five years, now is probably a good time to review and, if necessary, fine-tune or even rewrite your mission statement. All too often an organisation's mission statement, which has been handed down over the years, loses relevance and ceases to speak to staff, board members, or supporters.

An effective mission statement must resonate with the people working in and for the organisation, as well as with the different constituencies that the organisation hopes to affect. It must express the organisation's purpose in a way that inspires commitment, innovation, and courage -- not an easy task!

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