Our organization recently began looking into re-crafting our vision, mission, and values statements.  Due to the failing housing market and the construction business we have the opportunity to re-evaluate what we stand for and what we want to be for our customers. 

Whenever someone starts down the path of drafting these types of documents obstacles are sure to follow.  A good starting point is to understand what the finshed product should look like.  J.D. Meier’s blog presents a very defined and simple starting point.  I’ve copied his sentiments from his post on August 15, 2007  below:

In a Nutshell

  • Missionwho are you? what do you do?
  • Visionwhere do you want to go?
  • Valueswhat do you value? what’s important? (your corporate culture)

How Do You Craft Them

  1. You start by figuring out the values.  You figure out the values by observing how your organization prioritizes and how they spend their time.  There can be a gap between what folks say they value and what they actually do.  Actions speak louder than words.
  2. Once you know your culture and values, you can figure out your mission — who you are and what you do.  What is your organization’s unique value you bring to the table?  What is your unique strength?  In a world of survival of the fittest, this is important to know and to leverage.
  3. Now that you know who you are, you can figure out where you want to go.

A good vision statement is a one-liner statement you can repeat in the halls.  Nobody has to memorize it.  It’s easy to say and it’s easy to groc.  The same goes for a mission statement.  You might need to add another line or two to your mission statement to disambiguate, but if folks don’t quickly get what you do from your mission statement — it’s not working.

How Do You Use Them

  • Use a mission statement to quickly tell others what you do.
  • Use a vision statement to inspire and rally the team.  It should be on the horizon, but achievable and believable.
  • Use a mission statement as a gauge for success. 
  • Set goals and objectives that tell you whether you’re accomplishing your mission and moving toward or away from your vision.
  • Use your mission to remind you what you do (and what you don’t) and to help you prioritize.
  • Craft a personal mission and vision statement to help you get clarity on what you want to accomplish.
  • Use your personal vision and mission statements to help you stay on your horse, or get back on, when you get knocked down, or lose your way.

One last tip.  During my graduate school days, obtaining my MBA, professors used to always remind us that most companies create well thought out vision, mission, and values statements.  However, the companies that become successful are the ones that do the heavy lifting for the next 100-200 years by reinforcing their vision, mission, and values within their culture.  This means that managment and leaders within the organization find opportunties to work them into objectives, goals, activities…basically everyday life of the people working within a company. 

To sum it up.  The creation of an effective and successful vision, mission, and values statement  is just the beginning of a process that demands an organization and its people to challenge themselves to find ways that these ideals can be integrated into your companies culture.