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Developing your company Purpose, Vision, Mission and Values

You can’t have a compelling value proposition and differentiation if you do not know who you are, why you exist, and the purpose and function of the company.

  1. This is all foundational work from which you will build or re-build your company and to align all future strategies, tactics and policies.
  2. Clarity and focus

    If you are taking a flight from Los Angeles to China but fail to adequately plan and clarify your vision and end up 10% off target.  After 100 miles you are only 10 miles off your target, but after 10,000 miles you are 1,000 miles off your target and in a different country!

Yes!  Everyone has a need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.  When the employees of a business share in a common goal strategically, operationally and financially, they tend to be more motivated and are more likely to be satisfied in their careers, and more likely to work to their full potential to achieve those goals.

Webster defines “purpose” as, “the object toward which one strives on for which something exists; an aim or a goal; to intend.  Purpose is different from vision and mission in that this describes the company’s function and utility

Examples might be:

  • Maximize shareholder value.
  • Be a credible and reputable platform from which to accomplish personal, professional, societal and environmental goals. 
  • For the entrepreneur, it may be a sense of identity or personal fulfillment.
  • Your vision is a description of your “desired future state” describing your organization as you’d like it to be in five, ten or more years.
  • A precise and well-crafted declaration to where your company wants to go and painting a picture of what it is to become in terms of growth, values, employees, contributions to the community, and society.
  • A compass that will provide direction, align employees, strategy and operational tactics to achieve a common purpose.

While this is sometimes confused with the company’s purpose, it is definitely different.  Perhaps more than a vision statement, the mission statement is what draws people to a company and has as much meaning outside the company as inside the company.

A company’s mission can be defined as:

  • An operation intended to carry out specific program objectives
  • A higher calling or meaning, a reason for being.  Often this is the reason the company was first created – to fill a need in the marketplace or society.
  • A concise statement of business strategy developed from the customer's perspective and it should be aligned with the copmany’svision.
  • The mission should answer three key questions:
  • What is it that we do?
  • How do we do it?
  • For whom are we doing it?
  • Guiding principles or rules of conduct that the company will be known for and how it will behave.  A value is something of worth and importance and held in esteem.  Non-negotiable behavior and rules of conduct.
  • The company’s values should influence the hiring, recruiting and retention of key employees, compensation and rewards, how we treat each other and the customer.
  • Sometimes too simplistic with words that sound good on paper but difficult to put into practice.  For a set of values to be effective they must be aligned with the culture, departmental strategies, operations, rewards and incentives of the company. 
  • Quickly put it in place and openly communicate to all employees.  A company of one person is not too small to have a vision, mission and values.
  • It’s never too early or too late!  Problems exist in the growth of companies because they tend to clarify their vision, strategy and methods of operating once trouble arises.
  • Clarify and clearly focus your business lens. 
  • Your business and operating strategies will naturally flow from what you see as the vision for your company.
  • Great!  Confirm that you are operating in a way that will help you achieve your vision and strategy through the behavior and operating principles of your company. 


© 2007 Helen M. Mitchell and Strategic Management Resources

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©2015 Strategic Management Resources