Vision, Mission and Values – what are they and how are they essential to your business?
We were excited to welcome back leadership and management expert, Elizabeth Shassere, to Sheffield Technology Parks to deliver our third Lunch and Learn Cooper Session. Elizabeth is the author of ‘Becoming a fearless leader: a simple guide to taking control and building happy, productive, highly performing teams.
The focus of the session, which took place on Thursday 21st March, was to explore the importance of vision and mission statements. It gave the entrepreneurs the opportunity to identify and clarify their own statements and think about their company values. It was targeted, as all our Cooper Sessions are, towards SMEs and start-up businesses.
Elizabeth started by stating, “Your mission and vision statements, as well as your values and goals, are the spiritual guide to your team and its work. Setting those out nails your colours to the mast. They are your flag flying, your logo emblazoned, and your journey mapping for all to see.” She relayed how important it is as a business to have a vision, mission and values for three distinct reasons: you have to know why you get up everyday and do what you do, you have to be able to tell other people – teammates, funders and customers – and you have to have an anchor for when problems arise, or indecision occurs. She showed the entrepreneurs her own website, and just how accessible a company’s vision, mission and values should be for the public.
Elizabeth emphasised how understanding the difference between a vision, a mission and a value is essential to establishing them and making an effective, efficient decision for your company’s future. She believes that your vision, mission and values are “three pillars which your company stands on.” Hard decisions and problems can be helped by taking these three things into account. Using the example of a business relying on the purchase of food, Elizabeth said, “If your mission is to be as locally sourced as possible, but it’s 50% cheaper to buy from another country, that’s a big decision to make, especially if you’re a new business.”
Elizabeth emphasised how understanding the difference between a vision, a mission and a value is essential to establishing them and making an effective, efficient decision for your company’s future. The three subjects were broken down simply and explained. Elizabeth’s definition of a vision statement is a vivid, idealised description of a desired outcome that inspires, energises and helps you create a mental picture of your target. She explained vision statements are often confused with mission statements, but they serve complementary purposes. Elizabeth shared a quote from Seth Godin to help describe a mission statement’s purpose: “The purpose is to force management to make hard decisions about what the company stands for. A hard decision means giving up one thing to get another.” – Seth Godin.
When articulating your vision, Elizabeth suggested thinking about questions such as, what are you striving for? When you picture the ideal embodiment of your company, what does it look like? When articulating your mission, she used the example, what do we come in to do every day? These questions helped the entrepreneurs relate back to their own businesses. After a brief discussion, Elizabeth tasked them with writing out their vision, mission and values. Some already had an idea, but others were using the session as a stepping stone to help them clarify theirs.
After a brief discussion on their importance, Elizabeth then got the entrepreneurs to write down some of the problems they’ve faced so far as a business, and some of their concerns or worries. They were then tasked with solving them using their vision, mission and values.
The entrepreneurs left the session reflecting on their company’s values and thinking about how their vision and mission can make an impact.