Why Have Vision, Mission, Values, and Goals?

Why Have Vision, Mission, Values, and Goals?

Most of us do not pay much attention when we see the vision, mission, and values of an organization posted on the walls of an office building.  That’s because many of them are written in pretentious language saying what they think they should say rather than what they passionately believe and act upon every day.

It’s a lot of work defining those things.  So why do companies even do it?  And more importantly, should you be doing it for your business?  The short answer is, “Yes, you should.”  And here’s why.

The vision is a picture of a better world created through your efforts and those of others with a similar vision. For example, Bill Gates’ vision, for as long as I can remember, has been a world where everyone has access to a computer – a computer in every home. The vision is a deeply ingrained passion for a bigger future, and it’s difficult to take the risks of starting and running a business unless there’s something bigger than yourself to strive for.

The mission is a statement of how the products and services offered by your company and the actions its employees contribute to that vision of a better world. In other words, it’s the reason for your company’s existence.  What problems does your business solve and for whom?  What is the unique skill, concept, innovation or quality of performance that you aspire to create through your company? Why is it important to you and to your customers?  What is it that you hope to achieve and be known for as a company and a business owner?  If you don’t know why you are in the business you are in, then it can be pretty difficult to get motivated for work in the morning.

Values are the principles and standards that you live by in operating your business.  Whether you think you are or not, you are currently running your business within your value system.  If you aren’t, you will feel it, lose sleep at night, and lose your entrepreneurial desire.  Defining those principles brings them to the conscious level, for you and your customers. Employees with shared values will be attracted to your business and be more passionate about serving your clients. And people with shared values will want to do business with you.

Goals are those specific targets that you set to keep everyone focused on desirable results. Without the manageable steps that achieving goals provides, the vision and mission can seem a distant and impossible dream.

So, if you haven’t articulated your vision, mission, values, and goals, take out your pencil and jot down some notes. Work with your employees and your clients in developing a meaningful statement that is consistent with what you are as a company and as a contributor to a broader vision. You’ll feel more focused, and you and your team will feel more committed to higher performance and outstanding customer service. That sounds like a win-win-win situation to me.

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