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How to develop Vision, Mission and Values for organization

How to develop Vision, Mission and Values for organization

When approaching Vision, Mission and Values (VMV), as a process to be undertaken in your organisation, it’s important that everyone involved understands the concept and its component parts.
Descriptive definitions are provided below but here are the basic meanings as an introduction:
• Vision: where we’re going in the long-term
• Mission: our purpose and reason for existing
• Values: who we are, what we stand for
The diagram shows the relationship of these terms in the context of an organisation’s lifetime.
We can see that they represent statements to direct and guide the organisation over a sustained period of time – it’s because of this that they’re so important.
Organisational values identify the principles and ethics by which the organisation and its members conduct themselves and their activities.
Your organisation’s values can be deep rooted and hard to articulate. Often, they’re the product of tradition and the attitudes and actions of founders and /or influential leaders, imitated and passed on until they’re second nature, so changing them isn’t easy!
Values underpin policies, procedures, strategies, missions and visions by acting as an anchor and a reference point for every decision you make, whether it’s everyday operations or the toughest 50:50 calls.

Some organisations, like Benetton and Ben & Jerry’s, use their values as a business model and means of differentiating themselves. Others, particularly those in financial services, wish to be seen to be addressing public perception that their values have been corroded.

Hewlett Packard
• Passion for customers
— We put our customers first in everything we do.
• Trust and respect for individuals
— We work together to create a culture of inclusion built on trust, respect and dignity for all.
• Achievement and contribution
— We strive for excellence in all we do; each person’s contribution is key to our success.
• Results through teamwork
— We effectively collaborate, always looking for more efficient ways to serve our customers.
• Speed and agility
— We are resourceful, adaptable and achieve results faster than our competitors.
• Meaningful innovation
— We are the technology company that invents the useful and the significant.
• Uncompromising integrity
— We are open, honest and direct in our dealings.

A Vision is an aspirational description of the desired mid or long term achievements of an organisation, by those involved or affected by it.
A Vision asks – ‘Where are we going?’ or ‘Are we there yet?’
It’s the end destination on an organisation’s roadmap – what it hopes to become; the client outcome it wants achieve; the market position it wants to assume; the impact it will have; the capabilities it plans to develop; and the activities it plans to pursue.
Here’s an example:
Amazon:  Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

While vision focuses on the future, mission concentrates on the present. A mission statement defines the fundamental purpose of an organisation. It identifies who the organisation is, what it does, and who it serves.
Where a vision statement is aspirational, a mission statement is more practical. The mission statement should communicate, in an easily understandable manner, what the organisation does and possibly for whom.

For example:
Ben & Jerry’s: To make the best ice-cream in the nicest possible way
Organisations combine different roles, different cultures, different personalities and different priorities. The challenge is:
• chosing the right activities; approaching them collectively in the right way in order to accomplish your shared objective.
A collective vision, mission and values statement is effective and important at all levels of your organisation, co-ordinating businesses and communities and internal teams and departments.
In the same way that architects draw plans and engineers build models, VMV statements express the direction, purpose and ethos of the organisation in tangible form and communicates them to your stakeholders.


Developing a VMV Statement

The following section suggests a 5-step process for developing your VMV statements.


1. Getting Ready

To develop VMV statements a leadership team should ask itself 3 questions:
1. Who should be involved?
2. What process should we use?
3. What perspective(s) should we take?


Who should be involved?

Who is developing the VMV statements, how much involvement should employees, clients / service users and others affected by the existence of the organisation have?
It can be useful to identify a core working group, central to the process and responsible for its completion. Others can then be involved at different stages depending on the time, logistics, experience, skills and available resources.
You should ensure that the group contains key members of the organisation, leaders at different levels, strong personalities and diverse backgrounds to challenge established perceptions.
The amount of external help you’ll need during the process depends on the time you have available to manage it yourself, your confidence in selecting the right approach and seeing it through and the level of impartiality you want to maintain.

What Process should we use?

The VMV process needs careful planning to ensure it produces the desired end result. You’ll need to consider the following:
• The resources available to your organiation
• The involvement of external, experienced assistance
• The timescale you have for development
• The rate of change in your organisation’s external environment
• The size and stage of your organisation

Taking your organisation’s circumstances into account, how are you going to go about bringing this group together and how are you going to interpret their ideas? Producing a collective VMV should be a highly emotive, engaging and energising process. It can be used as an introduction to new systems of creativity, learning and interaction in an organisation.
Different activities change which parts of your brain that are working, and encourage other parts to relax. Identifying these triggers and exploiting them on purpose can be a powerful tool to assist you.

What Perspective?
It’s important to agree how far ahead you’re looking when addressing each element of your VMV statement.
Your vision should be aspirational and optimistic, based in the mid to long term, far enough that change can happen but not so far that anything is possible.
Your mission should explain what it is that you are currently doing in order to get there.
Your values should communicate the moral code by which your organisation and its members will conduct themselves on the way, when you get there and when you decide to move on.
The three VMV headings have different life spans which must be considered in your organisation’s current context to agree the appropriate perspective for each.
The level of your ambition or the stage of your organisation’s life cycle can also determine your perspective. A mature organisation is likely to be much more resilient to short term change but benefits from looking further into the future for the large scale shifts that it must adapt to and exploit. Contrastingly, a rapidly changing environment or “burning platform’ can restrict the organisation’s view of the future as it looks to survive the short term.

2. Where are we coming from?

Once the necessary people have been brought together they should begin to determine and share what the organisation means to them.
An effective means of achieving this is to examine significant events that have shaped the organisation (highs and lows) and develop an organisational timeline from its beginnings to current state.


Organisation Timeline

The objective of a timeline is to appreciate the history of the organisation, the trends experienced and to share what the past means to us. Timelines encourage people to tell their own stories and to compare them with those of colleagues. Overall, they help to identify trends, characteristics and important events that changed your organisation’s history.
It’s important to create a common body of history in a participatory way. If it’s done by an individual, the recording will be selective, often over generalise, and sometimes distort information. More people involved in the selection of relevant issues to be interpreted and recorded means a greater chance of consensus that you can harness as you progress to looking at the future.

3. Where are we today?

A number of tools can be used to determine where the organisation is today. These include:
• A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) or similar analysis.
• Comparison Exercises – Useful exercises to engage groups at this stage include comparing the organisation to other things for example: If your organization was a car, what kind of car would it be? Why?
• Stakeholder Analysis: Another way of determining the organisation’s current position is to identify those it influences by it’s actions and determine key relationships (also known as stakeholder mapping).
Sifting through the information generated, the group should begin to establish the core collective values, history, conduct and ethics that are fundamental to your organisation and the way it operates. These will form your values statement and are the “building blocks” on which your vision and mission are developed.
At this stage in the process you can also begin to formulate your mission statement, identifying what it is you currently do and who you do it for.

4. Imagine the Future:

Project into the future:
Imagine and describe desired outcomes to the prevailing topics that emerged from the previous sections discussion and research.
• What will we do?
• For whom?
• With whom?
• How?

A possible starting point is to imagine that if the organisation were to start again today (with no history), how would you like to start? What would you like to change or keep?
For a comprehensive picture, divide your working group into teams approaching vision formulation from different perspectives, these can include:

• Sector
– peers & competition
• Critical issues
– newspaper, media review, social media
• Emerging trends
– economic, social, legal, environmental
• News Stories
– the group develops a news story reflecting the organisation at a point in the future. The recorder interviews group participants to identify key points in the story and achievements on the way.
• Stakeholder satisfaction
– the group approaches the organisations future from the perspective of key stakeholders (determined by stakeholder mapping) identifying current opinion and desired future perception and what needs to be done in between to align them.
• Metaphor and Images
– Divide the participants into small groups of four to six people.
– Ask everyone to imagine the future of the organisation.
– Have each participant make a quick sketch of an image that comes to mind.
– Ask the participants to show and explain their images to the others in their group
– Ask each group to prepare one large drawing (flipchart size) that captures the collective dream of the members in their group. (This encourages the group to defend elements that are important to them and leave out parts that aren’t).

Identify Common Themes:
Examine the resulting visions to identify and list common themes. Discuss and evaluate the list together to reflect the majority opinion of your vision teams.


Drafting your VMV statement

Use the list of common vision themes to draft a statement to reflect the future as though the organisation were in it. An effective vision has two key parts: core ideology or values and envisioned future. Values don’t usually change, the envisioned future is what you hope to become, achieve and create.
If you’re suffering from writer’s block you could start by reviewing your existing VMV statement from your new perspective on the future. Or you could examine those belonging to your peers or competition, selecting themes or words you like and adding in your own.
When developing its vision, your organisation needs to ensure it’s desired future is consistent with it’s existing values. Identify from the information you have gathered, which values are consistent with where you have come from, where you are today and your vision of the future of your organisation. Construct a statement that communicates them clearly.
A useful tool is to imagine that your envisioned organisation has to start again on Mars, you can send eight people from your current organisation there to do it. Identify the eight and then list what it is about them that you have chosen them for. It could be persistence, integrity, leadership etc. Test the list against business scenarios and remove or combine any that are similar.
Reflect on you vision and identify what it is that you are going to do to get there and who you are going to do it for.  Reflect on your values and identify how you are going to do it.

5. Finalising your Vision, Mission and Values Statement

• Select key words to be included
• Dissect your Vision, Mission and Values into their key component parts to be incorporated in each statement, these can include:
– Products & Services
– Employees
– Inspiration
– Brand
– Location
– Customers
– Environment
– Ethics
– Ethos


• Criteria for designing your statement:
– Short
– Concise
– Inspiring
– Memorable
– Easy to communicate
• Write it
– (No jargon!)

Circulate the draft(s) to allow the group time to reflect and review. It’s also worth ensuring you have external involvement when drafting and finalising your VMV statement. Objectivity is essential in gauging how your message will be received by your wider audience.
The final step of the process is the daily expression of your VMV in Organisational life.
• Integrating the VMV into everyday planning & goals
• Using the VMV in stakeholder communications
• Plotting and communicating the progress of activities linked to achieving the VMV

Once it’s finalised, you should make arrangements to regularly review & challenge your existing VMV statement to ensure it remains relevant. But remember, unless the conduct of your organisation and its leaders reflects the vision, mission and values you’ve set, the members of your organisation, customers and other stakeholders will disregard them as a marketing tool.
The leaders in your group are the ambassadors for your Vision, Mission and Values. It’s important that they understand this duty and buy in to it by refering and integrating the messages in the statement in their roles and by communicating and championing it to others.

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