Establishing the mission, values & vision

Most companies are familiar with implementing a strategy to accomplish their most important goals. Why are having a vision; articulating values and crafting a mission statement important also? Also, how does a Balanced Scorecard fit in?


Your strategy defines where you want to go and how your activities are different than others.

Your vision is a word picture or what your organization intends to ultimately become. This is a longer time-frame, of 5, 10 even 25 years. Why is this important? Think of how Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speach had on the civil rights movement and the country as a whole. At the time, the civil rights movement was not new, it had already accomplished many important milestons. This “word picture” though helped galvanize not only those active in the cause, but marked a turning point in the life of the country. No longer could anyone not grasp the long term goal nor the importance of his message, nor that of the movement he lead.

Developing your vision

As a group or with interviews conducted separately, the questions below can help you craft a vison for the future.

1. Where and why have we been successful in the past?

2. Where have we failed in the past?

3. Why should we be proud of our organization?

4. What trends, innovations, and dynamics are currently changing our environment?

5. What do our clients and customers expect form us? Our funders or legislators? Our employees?

6. What are our greatest attributes and competences as an organization?

7. Where do you see our organization in three years?

8. How will our organization have changed during that time period?

9. How do we sustain our success?

Articulating your values

Articulating your values as an individual or a group or organization helps you how you plan to operate and the “touchstones” you will return to when making hard decisions.

Try these questions developed by Jim Collins, the author of Built to Last.

1. What core values do you bring to work-values you hold to be so fundamental that you would hold them regardless of whether or not they were rewarded?

2. How would you describe to your loved ones the core values you stand for in your work and that you hope they stand for in their working lives?

3. If you awoke tomorrow morning with enough money to retire for the rest of your life, would you continue to hold on to these core values?

4. Perhaps most important, can you envision these values beings as valid 100 years from now as they are today?

5. Would you want the organization to continue tohold these values even if at some point one or more of them became a competitive disadvantage?

6. Would you want the organization tomorrow in a different line of work, what core values would you build into the new organization regardless of its activities?

Defining your mission

Your mission is the lighthouse for your work, something that guides you. It is also like a beacon, something that is pursued, but never quite acheived. Using these four questions will help you articulate your mission. You may want to come up with some of your own as well.

1. We exist to (primary purpose, need servied or problem solved)

2. For (primary clients or customers)

3. In order to (core services offered)

4. So that (long-term outcomes determining success)

The balanced scorecard helps develop specific metrics for your organization and helps implement your mission, values and vision into every aspect of your organization.

The Balanced Scorecard
The Balanced Scorecard

References Cited

Balanced Scorecard-Step by Step for Governmeny and Non-Profit Agencies by Paul R. Niven

Built to Last by Jim Collins


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