We’ve helped organizations of all shapes and sizes manage their strategic execution for some time. And as such, we feel confident in saying that – no matter the size of the company – in order for a business to be successful it must establish a strategic plan. Starting with a strategic plan is often what separates business wins from business flops. However, according to TAB’s Small Business Pulse Survey, only 9% of small business owners have a strategic plan that they’d describe as “excellent.” Only a paltry 16% of business owners are reviewing and updating their strategic plan on a monthly basis, and a full 22% have no written plan at all.
One great way to get started is preparing three very important statements. Each serves as a cornerstone for your operations, and gets you started on the right food to developing a larger strategic plan. These three statements are vision, mission, and values.
A vision statement is a key element of an effective business strategy. A survey by Tiny Pulse uncovered that less than half of employees knew their organization’s vision, mission, and values statements, which is shocking considering the survey also discovered those who say the company’s values are “known and understood” are 30x more likely to be fully engaged!
There are two main questions a vision statement should answer:
- Where does the company want to be in the long-term?
- How are we going to get there?
The vision statement is useful as a motivational method to help drive employees, and also to clearly demonstrate and define the goals of the company to customers, investors etc. The vision statement should be optimistic yet realistic. If it is too far-reaching, it will not help to motivate employees, and instead will only discourage the team when goals are not met. If it doesn’t require a little bit of reach, the company may never move forward at the pace it needs to remain viable. Writing down a vision statement often helps business goals to be better defined, better understood and better primed for achievement.
A mission statement is just as important for a business strategy. The key questions a mission statement should answer are:
- What does the organization do?
- What benefit does the organization provide?
The mission statement helps employees and customers to understand why the company actually exists. This is more focused on the present, and should essentially tell all involved what the company actually wants to do for the world. Whilst the vision statement will provide the end goals, the mission statement should guide actions and decision-making and provide a clear path for the company.
A values statement is the final foundation piece to a strategic plan, and it should answer this question:
- What are the core beliefs of the organization?
The values statement should be able to identify and connect to targeted consumers, as well as remind employees about priorities and goals. It should provide a platform and framework that will be passed on and shared by leaders within the organization. These defined values should guide attitudes, actions, and decision-making, providing a moral compass for company leaders to use every day.
Quality strategic management requires communication, strategic planning, action, and execution. Having vision, mission and values statements established and communicated to the whole company makes the action and execution more effective and more organized, and will help to uncover ways to improve performance within the company. The vision statement provides long-term goals, the mission statement provides the purpose of the organization, and the values statement provides the core beliefs and a moral guidance for the organization. When these three are carefully considered, it builds a solid platform for overall strategic success.