What is your dotted line? Mission and Vision Statements


Some time back I read an interesting post by my friend Tim Long who commented on his loyalty and support to Microsoft. Any organisation should have a vision which gives them something to aim for, and Tim highlighted Microsoft’s Future Vision Series that showed where they were focusing their technology to achieve their goals for 10-15 years time. Having seen the awesome (quite literally!) Avatar in 3D just prior to Christmas I can already see that many others share this vision!

Here is a video that gives a five minute overview of what Microsoft envisions the world will look like in 2019:

If you can’t view the video from this post, click here for a direct link.

Now, whether you managed to watch the film in it’s entirety or just a few minutes, you hopefully get the idea that the way we accept technology into our lives is a lot further along than we are standing at the beginning of 2010.

But how do we get from here ‘A’ to where our vision takes us ‘B’? Ensuring we have a strategy in place to support our ‘journey’ is critically important to the success of any business. Not only does it give you a central point of reference but it allows others in the organisation to share the vision and work together to build a strong future. It is this vision supported by a clearly communicated strategy that gives us the dotted line between ‘A’ and ‘B’.

As part of my personal development and as a useful resource to help me develop ideas for my clients, I have several reference points that I use regularly to draw from such as TED, my Twitter lists, and many of the blogs I subscribe to. Any thoughtful discussion taking place as a response from those developing themselves and their business helps to add to what I have established as my vision. That way, a vision created two years ago can remain fresh and relevant using current and future perspectives.

People working together in a tribe need an affinity with what they have been given as a vision; they need something they can aspire to… and something that as Seth Godin says gives them the ‘ability to connect to each other, not to companies’.

So what is your vision? What is the vision of the company and is it shared by everyone who helps build it everyday?

Ensuring you clearly communicate this vision and it remains fresh and relevant is imperative to ensure that others adopt it and help make it tangible.

Your goal as a leader is to ensure that you give others the platform to grasp your vision and carry the mantle with you. What is it that you are doing to communicate your vision and business strategy? Think about:

  • How you communicate it to yourself
  • How you communicate it to your colleagues and peers
  • How you communicate it to your clients and customers (NB the two different types based on their relationship with you)
  • How you communicate it with your friends and family
  • How you previously communicated it with all of the above.
  • And, how you plan to allow it to change, grow, and develop into something where all of the above communicate it for you.

Your visioning should be part of your strategic planning which is the formal consideration of the way you steer your business. On the back of an envelope over a team meeting, you should pose the following questions. You’ll find the answers interesting and an opportunity to find new ways to work:

  1. What do we do?
  2. For whom do we do it?
  3. How do we excel?

(NB: When taking notes on this little exercise, note what gets suggested and in what order.)

If you don’t already have a Mission statement or one that outlines what you want to be through a Vision statement then I strongly suggest you get this done sooner rather than later. Having these statements creates value for those who are exposed to them and creates a sense of direction and opportunity.

To create a Vision statement, you should ask yourself ‘what aspirations does the organisation have in what we do and have some influence over?’. Your Vision statement should include the following:

  • Clarity and lack of ambiguity
  • A vivid and clear picture
  • Description of a bright future
  • Realistic aspirations
  • An alignment with organisational values and cultures (ensure you have articulated these also)

Ensure that you use memorable and engaging wording to make it easier for others to adopt. After creating your Vision statement, to determine your Mission statement, ask your business ‘what can we do to help fulfil these aspirations?’. Hopefully that should give you your Mission Statement.

I’ve spoken about this before in previous posts, but without a vision and how you intend to go about achieving it will leave you and all those affected by your business more disconnected with you than you would like.

Part of my work with clients is to establish an efficient way to communicate the key strengths of their businesses and how their vision will re-enforce long-term relationships within their market. I’m not alone in this drive to emphasise the importance of and in a recent post by PrimeGenesis, they highlighted the importance of driving an overriding message and three communication points. You can read more on that point here.

Get that vision up on a wall in your office so that everyone who walks by is reminded of it too. Make it your mantra and get everyone facing in the same direction to achieve positive change and teamwork within your business.

Resources:

Mission Statements

Vision Statements

Susanne Dansey is the Managing Director of Purple Cow Ideas Management – an organisation that facilitates a paradigm shift in the collaborative nature of the ICT Industry. You can follow her on Twitter and join the conversation on Facebook.

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