A Means for Measuring Success

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Core Values. Mission. Vision. 

What’s the Difference? 

If you have ever asked yourself this question, please know you are not alone: many of our clients have faced this question at some point in their history. Step by step, below, we will uncover the essence of each equally-important concept in order of existence.

CORE VALUES COME FIRST

We all embody a basic set of values, some of which we latched onto early in life, and some we adopted over the course of time. Simply put, values are our principals and standards that affect our decision making on very deep level. For instance, our individual values

  • influence our opinions and behavior,
  • impact our relationships with others and
  • drive our life course in terms of education and career.

It is critical that we each learn to identify the values that drive our life decisions so that we may improve and understand our decision making.

How do individual values affect organizations? Regardless of industry, all organizations have one key element in common: people. At a leadership level, successful companies recognize the need to empower people whose values align with the company’s organizational values.

What are organizational values? Just like individual values, organizational values are the ideals, beliefs, and principals adopted by an entire company which directly impact its trajectory in all business dealings. Organizations that clearly identify core values —and work toward honing those values — have the best opportunity for success in hiring the right people who share those values, managing people to lead according those values, and cultivating profitable relationships with clients who appreciate how those core values ultimately serve their needs.

How should a company utilize organizational values? This is best answered by way o f example. In a recent organizational assessment, one of our clients uncovered the following core values held by his organization: Integrity, Trust, Internal Growth, Speed, and Problem Solving.

Once these values were identified, together with our client’s leadership team, we set to work on how to implement these values within the organization among employees and clients:

  1. Foster a culture of ownership, accountability, and integrity
  2. Interact with all departments and clients in a positive, timely, and professional manner
  3. Follow to the best of your ability, the rules, guidelines, and policies of the company

Additionally, our client is now in the process of illustrating how they plan to demonstrate their newly articulated core values internally and externally by developing an organizational mission statement.

MISSION STATEMENTS UNFOLD OUT OF CORE VALUES

Using core values as a basis, your organization can develop an action-oriented mission statement to communicate what it offers to employees, customers, owners and/or stock holders.

Brevity and clarity are the two most essential criteria of a useful mission statement; in just one brief sentence or very short paragraph, a mission statement should clearly summarize the fundamental objectives of the company and how it will conduct all internal and external business dealings.

Like a compass, an effective mission statement should be used consistently to measure whether the company is headed in the right direction according to its core values.

A helpful mission statement should complete the sentence “This organization will _____” and answer the following questions:

  • What does the company do, for whom (target audience), and why?
  • In what manner will the company serve its target audience?
  • How does the company want to be known among employees, customers, and world at large?

While the process of creating a mission statement may seem daunting and time consuming, it ultimately frees up valuable time in the long run by streamlining the decision-making process. Simply put, if a business decision opposes the organization’s mission statement in any way, leadership can feel confident to decide against it quickly and concisely.

LOOKING AHEAD: VISION COMES FROM MISSION

You might be wondering: If the mission statement is the compass to help an organization remain pointed in the right direction, then what is an organizational vision? To answer this common question, let us consider the verb form of the word: envision. To envision means to “picture mentally.”

When you plan a vacation, you choose a location that can be seen on a map. It’s where you are going, the destination.

As you travel closer and closer to your vacation spot, you do much more than think about the place itself. Instead, you imagine great details about your destination — what it will look like, how you will feel when you get there, and what you will do when you arrive. This is what vision is made of.

Effective leaders in growing organizations typically have the unique ability to imagine future potential in the same manner as a vacationer imagines their upcoming trip. Moreover, they know that if the organization’s desired destination can also be envisioned by team members, there is a healthy chance for shared vision to one day become reality.  However, without understanding the essentials of core values, and without the compass of a mission statement, vision is nearly impossible to communicate. Each serves its own individual purpose while simultaneously working in concert to propel an organization toward its goals.

In summary, the relationship between core values, mission and vision is perhaps best explained in the context of time.

  • Values are for all time; we must always be aware of their impact.
  • Mission is for now. “Today, we will commit to doing this and being this in this”
  • Vision is for the future. “When we fulfill our mission based on our core values, we believe it will get us ‘there,’ the place we envision.”

If your organization would like some assistance in uncovering its core values, developing a mission statement and creating a vision, Brink Results would be honored to assist.