TileLetter’s Business Tip section will periodically feature excerpts and synopses from the new NTCA Reference Manual Business Section. Within the Strategic Planning chapter of the NTCA Reference Manual Business Section is information on formulating the Vision, Mission and Values statements for your company:
A. Vision/Mission/Values Statement
- I. Vision: Defines the way an organization will look in the future. Vision is a long-term view, sometimes describing how the organization would like the world to be in which it operates. For example, a charity working with the poor might have a Vision Statement which reads, “A World without Poverty.”
- II. Mission: Defines the fundamental purpose of the organization, describing why it exists and what it does to achieve the Vision. It is sometimes used to set out a “picture” of the company in the future. A Mission Statement provides details of what is done and statements like “job training for the homeless and unemployed.”
- III. Values: Beliefs that are shared among the decision-makers of the organization. Values drive the culture and priorities and provide a framework in which decisions are made. For example, “Knowledge and skills are the keys to success” is an example of the values of the company. The Strategic Plan combines the goals for which the firm is striving and the means (policies) by which it is seeking to get there. A strategy is sometimes called a “roadmap” which is the path chosen to plow towards the end Vision. The most important part of implementing the strategy is ensuring the company is going in the right direction, which is toward the end Vision.
Organizations sometimes summarize goals and objectives into a Mission Statement and/or a Vision Statement. Others begin with a Vision and Mission and use them to formulate goals and objectives.
- A Mission Statement tells you the fundamental purpose of the organization. It defines the customer and the critical processes. It informs you of the desired level of performance.
- A Vision Statement outlines what the company wants to be, or how it wants the world in which it operates to be. It concentrates on the future. It is a source of inspiration. It provides clear decision-making criteria.
For example, a tile contracting company may have a Mission of becoming the largest and most profitable commercial company in its market. Another company may want to remain small and work specifically with custom homes and remodeling projects. The Mission Statement is where you can clearly define who you want to be.
An advantage of having a statement is that it creates value for those who get exposed to it, such as owners, managers, employees, and sometimes even customers. Statements create a sense of direction and opportunity.
Many people mistake the Vision Statement for the Mission Statement, and sometimes one is used as a longer-term version of the other. The Vision should explain why it is important to achieve the Mission. A Vision Statement defines the purpose or broader goal for being in existence and can remain the same for decades if crafted well. A Mission Statement is more specific to what the company can become. Vision should describe what will be achieved in the bigger picture if the company and others are successful in achieving their individual missions.
Which comes first? It depends. If you have a new start-up company, or a new program to re-engineer your current services – such as a maintenance division – then the Vision will guide the Mission Statement and the rest of the Strategic Plan. If you have an established business where the mission is established, then many times, the mission guides the Vision Statement and the rest of the Strategic Plan. Either way, you need to know your fundamental purpose (Mission) and your current situation in terms of resources and capabilities (strengths and weaknesses) and external conditions (opportunities and threats), and where you want to go (Vision) for the future. It is vital that you keep the end or desired result in sight from the start.
To become effective, the Vision Statement must become part of the company culture. Leaders have the responsibility of communicating the Vision regularly, acting as role-models by embracing the Vision, creating short-term objectives compatible with it, and encouraging others to craft their own personal Vision compatible with company Vision.
For access to this entire document, as well as the information-packed NTCA Reference Manual itself, contact Jim Olson at [email protected] or 601-939-2071 about NTCA membership.