Vision, Mission and Goals: A Quick Guide
It’s that time of year when businesses of all sizes reflect on how they performed over the last 12 months, and cast a vision for the coming year. The value of this activity cannot be overestimated. It also is vitally important to strike a balance between assessing the challenges and opportunities, along with claiming a bold direction forward.
Unfortunately, too many business leaders prefer to downplay what didn’t work well, or worse, refuse to look at it at all. And still others cast a modest vision (if any) so they cannot fail. If either of these categories feels a little too close for comfort—so that you and your company simply push forward, without taking the time to reflect and set meaningful goals, then know this:
The purpose of investing in a vision, mission and substantial goals is to grow reliably and resiliently, not in order to meet every milestone flawlessly.
The major companies of the world all have a business mission and vision (whether you agree with them or not is irrelevant). In fact, the top CEO’s in the world think and talk about their vision with great passion every chance they get. The strategy leaders must embrace to gain the engagement and support of their constituents (employees, followers, clients, etc.) is to communicate their vision clearly to those individuals who want to share it.
Vision and goal-setting is not about avoiding controversy. It isn’t about moving forward without communicating your intentions either. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has a vision, and being questioned, even by respected financial experts, does not dissuade him. He knows that when he makes abrupt turns in his companies’ ventures, investors are not all going to agree, and will criticize him, unless, of course, he proves his vision is correct. His Achilles heel on that front, however, is his lack of attention to his vital employees’ buy-in, and how that turns out is yet unwritten.
In order to make your business vision, mission and goals a reality, you need your own personal vision of where you will be in the future. This isn’t about the nitty-gritty details of your website, or products. It is about your values, who you serve, and what impact you are creating. Your vision is personal, no matter how big your business becomes.
Accepting that you will hear negativity from some individuals and holding steady to what you know is true despite that will be a huge asset for you to move forward. Similarly, accepting there are those who will encourage you to grow simply for growth’s sake, and at substantial investment, without the time or foundation to support it, will keep you focused on your own unique path. And you only can maintain that level of commitment to your vision if you have taken the care and time to build a crystal clear one that lights you up.
I offer vision-setting workshops, using the most current vision board tools for business. These are powerful for leaders to motivate and inspire their teams. Contact me to find out about accessing these transformative experiences for you or your team.
Build Your Mission to Inspire
Whether you opt to go it alone or work with a coach, once you have your vision, you need to create a mission statement that will inspire you, first ad foremost. If you do, both your employees and your clients will resonate with your mission statement. That is the foundation of making it a reality.
In business, the mission statement qualifies why the business started engaging in business. It won’t work if it is a lengthy, run-on sentence that captures every word you think your customers want to hear. It is exciting only when it declares in a punchy sentence what the company is and what it stands for.
Think back to groups who wanted to get their message out to the masses and you may remember one person yelling, “Who are we? And the crowd answers with a resounding response and the leader yells, “What do we stand for?” And the crowd tells everyone who is listening just exactly what their principals are.
(To create a mission statement for yourself, check out the mission statement creation blog from earlier this year.)
Let’s look at a business mission statement and you can jot down ideas for your business, even if you are a solo entrepreneur.
Tesla is a company that people love to follow. The innovations that have come about in their company can be mind boggling. One only has to view a Tesla X and its synchronized light show to understand why.
Tesla has both a vision statement and a mission statement. Their current mission statement is:
“To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
Their mission statement is written to gain acceptance and loyalty due to what it will do for the world’s best interests. Tesla looks to help humanity by leading the way to sustainable energy. This mission statement gets the employees on board and eager to fulfil their role. It also means current investors will stay onboard, and in the meantime, attract new ones with the same philosophy.
There are some amazing examples you can read on mission statements and use them as inspiration to create your own.
Put It Into Action With Goals
Having a vision and mission for your company means you need to build an action plan to bring it all together. Goal-setting is about the process, and not the destination. Each goal leads to another, and then another. Often, what we thought was the “right” goal needs us to re-evaluate and adapt our approach as we go. That doesn’t mean the goal was wrong, however. It simply reflects how we, and our environment, continually shift.
That doesn’t mean setting goals is a waste of effort! Quite the contrary. If we fail to set meaningful goals, we wind up drifting, with nothing to measure our progress.
As many of you already know, one of the leading methods of goal-setting is to use SMART goals. If you have somehow missed this method:
S-Make your goals specific
M-Make your goals measurable
A-Make your goals attainable/achievable
R-Make your goals realistic to your vision and mission statement
T-Make your goals time-bound. Without realistic times to achieve your specific goal, the road will rough.
If you find this too rudimentary, or even too rigid, I encourage you to at least try it. Don’t use its familiarity or format as an excuse to not set the goals that deliver your vision and mission.
When you have a vision, a mission statement and matching SMART goals, the eagerness to reach the end point may be overwhelming. You have an all-consuming vision of perhaps building sustainable housing for the homeless, or you might be aiming to build a business that provides hope for your clients, and allows you to step back, or even sell it. No matter how bold or modest, I encourage you to remember this: avoid aiming immediately far beyond what you can do today. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. It is better to aim just slightly ahead of what you know is 100% realistic and then increase it as you refine it.
Needless to say, this quick guide does not cover all the details, or address your unique situation. Hopefully it inspires you to take action, however. If you want support on your vision, mission and goals journey to make 2023 your best year yet, reach out and schedule your free discovery call.