The vision, purpose, strategy and basic values, in my opinion, are the basic documents that should form your main idea, the governing documents that inform the strategic direction and application of the strategies. All four are important, but very different, and often confusing.
A vision is a clear, inspiring, practical, and attractive picture of the future of your organization. It is not a vision statement, but a vision text, and I give you details in my book. But it is a three- to five-page document that talks about the future of your business three to five years from now. It’s written in the present, and it talks about the future of your team, the future of your product, the future of your marketing and the future of your impact. That’s the idea, and it answers the question, where? Where are we going as an organization? Then there is work.
Mission answers the question, why? Why do we do what we do? And there are four questions below:
First, who are we? In other words, what should you do in business? I’m in a leadership development company, that’s the answer to that first little question. The second question is, Who are your customers and what is their problem? So for me, I serve entrepreneurs who are widespread but successful. That’s a different audience with a different mental health problem. Third, what is your unique solution? So for me, I provide the focus that those people, those business owners need, and then here is my promised change, and that’s the fourth question, and that’s a win at work and a success in life. So that’s a job, you answer the question, why? Then there is your strategy.
The strategy is how to get from here to there, how to get to the idea you thought of in that original text. Strategies can change. They change, they can change as often as the conditions in the ground change, because you are trying to get to that place, that probably will not change, but how you get there can change very well. When a coronavirus hit, for example, our strategy had to change. Conditions on the ground changed. We are still committed to the idea, but how we get there will be very different. Then there are your basic values.
Basic values are actually about who you are and more importantly, that you are on your way to your vision. What kind of behavior do you think it is? What kind of conduct do you tolerate? Who will be in the process of realizing that vision?
That’s the difference. Vision, purpose, strategy and values are all different, but all are important.
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