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This post provides high level descriptions of company vision, mission (values), culture, goals and strategy and how they are related and different from each other.
Your vision is the picture that you see of your business at some point in the future. It is what your creation looks like in the future. Three years, five years and 10 years are good vision markers to work with. I typically try to paint a rough picture of my company based on a few facts, such as the revenue and net, numbers of employee/personnel and markets/channels/customers where I sell. There may be other important factors that you want to build into your business, so you want to include them in the picture that your company paints. These factors might include brand recognition or social impact.
There are usually many ways to achieve a vision. Your strategy identifies a specific way or a set of ways to achieve that. You want to know things like: how much investment do I need and when? What products do I introduce and when? When do I hire? What markets/channels/customers do I pursue and in what order and when? How am I going to win? I like to think of my business plan that I use for internal purposes as the tool to build my strategy.
While vision is your picture of what you want to look like, mission defines how you will go about working to achieve that. Its more than just making a product and selling it. Its how you go about making and selling that product which helps guide you and keep you on track towards accomplishing your vision. You look at your values and build those into your mission so that you have a set of rules that help keep you centered on how you run your business.
Culture develops out of the vision and mission/values. It becomes the habits and routines for how people in the company interact and do the work. It’s best to think of culture according to the following:
- What we protect or punish;
- What we reward or remove;
- What we allow and disallow;
- What makes us happy, sad or mad.
You set goals that when achieved, are designed to get you closer to your vision.
I think of this illustration in climbing a mountain:
- My vision is to be on the summit.
- My strategy is to ascend and descend within an eight-hour time frame, taking the southwestern route, with three rest breaks on the ascent and two on the descent, and do it in late spring, so I should prepare for hiking in snow and the possibility for cold conditions, which means packing extra clothing and food.
- I have set certain goals that will help me achieve the summit; goal 1 includes hiking to point A and resting; goal 2 is rock climbing to point B; goals 3 is the final push to the summit along the ridgeline.
- My mission is how I will climb, which is to make it fun, safe, taxing but not overly strenuous, and taking lots of photos to document the day.
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