Values, Vision, Mission (Part 2)

Values, Vision, Mission — How to Get Them Right
Part 2 of a Four-Part Tutorial

Integrating Values with
Vision and Mission Statements

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In this portion of the tutorial, I want to outline a model for sequencing the steps to use in defining corporate values and developing vision and mission statements. The purpose of this model is to integrate your company's values, your vision statement, and your mission statement into a cohesive whole. Parts 3 and 4 of this tutorial will take you through the elements of the model in greater detail.

The basic premise of this model is that vision and mission statements should be developed as part of an interactive process that also identifies and spells out your values. Together these three — your values, your vision, and your mission — form the orchestrating core for planning, decision-making, and marketing.

A second premise of this model is that the values in your business form a hierarchy. I refer to them as functioning at different tiers. The highest tier sets boundaries that neither your vision, your mission, nor your other values must violate. The values at this level are what I call core values.

Your values, your vision, and your mission form the orchestrating core for planning, decision-making, and marketing.

Our model calls for you to first define your core values. We will describe core values more fully in Part 3.

The vision statement describes where you want the business to be in some distant future

With the core values established, your second step is to develop your vision statement. It states in highly generalized terms where you want the business to be in some distant future, perhaps five, ten, or even twenty years down the road. In Part 4 of this tutorial, we will discover that there are two types of vision statements. Either one can serve you well.

As we have said, your vision should function within the parameters of your core values. That's why you define core values first. To execute your vision, however, may call for additional values, over and above the core values. Since your vision lays out your strategic direction, I refer to these vision-related values as strategic values. Defining these strategic values is the third step in the model.

The fourth step is to enunciate your mission statement. A mission statement spells out what you are doing now and what you will do in the foreseeable future (perhaps the next two or three years) to move the vision forward. The mission statement is more detailed than the vision statement and is developed using a formula which we will introduce in Part 4. Whereas the vision statement pictures where you want to go, the mission statement is more about how you are moving toward that destination.

Because of its emphasis on "the how" of fulfilling your vision, the mission statement has an operational flavor to it. And due to its greater specificity, the mission's success may depend on still another set of values. Since these values are called into action to support the mission statement, with is operational in tone, I call them operational values. Identifying your operational values is the fifth step in the model.

Here, then, are the elements in our model, arranged in the order in which you develop them:

  • Core values
  • Vision Statement
  • Strategic Values
  • Mission Statement
  • Operational Values

Since values figure so prominently in the model, the next part of this tutorial examines these various kinds of values at length.

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