Purpose, Vision, Mission and Values – it HAS to be more than marketing fluff!

An organisation’s purpose, vision, mission and values can get a bad rep…often deemed as ‘marketing fluff’ in many instances they are never given the opportunity to reach their full potential, and have the positive impact on an organisation, it’s people, clients, partners and performance that they truly could.  Done right they bring cohesion and focus to a team, create an environment and culture that thrives, help attract new talent and retain the best.

So how can you ensure your purpose, vision, mission and values have tangible outcomes and don’t fall into the trap of ‘marketing fluff’?

Spending time to understand what each of these actually means is the first step.  You can’t define something if you don’t understand it’s reason for existing or the value it can bring.

Defining the right purpose, mission, vision and values for your organisation should play a key role in helping to shape a clear business strategy and enable you to effectively and consistently execute it. Here’s what each means:

  • Purpose – this defines why the organisation exists, why do you do what you do?
  • Vision – this is where your organisation is going – the future and what it looks like
  • Mission – this is focused more on the immediate goal, what you do, who you do it for and why you do it
  • Values – these sit at the heart of all you do and help shape behaviour, culture and shared attitudes.

Here’s an example of some of these elements for two well-known companies, Patagonia and Tesla:

Purpose (Why do we exist as an organisation?) – Patagonia
“Patagonia is in business to save our home planet.”

Vision (What is the world going to look like in the future?) – Tesla
“To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

Mission (How are we going to make the vision a reality?) – Tesla
“To accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”

Values – Patagonia

Build the best product
Our criteria for the best product rests on function, repairability, and, foremost, durability. Among the most direct ways we can limit ecological impacts is with goods that last for generations or can be recycled so the materials in them remain in use. Making the best product matters for saving the planet.

Cause no unnecessary harm
We know that our business activity—from lighting stores to dyeing shirts—is part of the problem. We work steadily to change our business practices and share what we’ve learned. But we recognize that this is not enough. We seek not only to do less harm, but more good.

Use business to protect nature
The challenges we face as a society require leadership. Once we identify a problem, we act. We embrace risk and act to protect and restore the stability, integrity and beauty of the web of life.

Not bound by convention
Our success—and much of the fun—lies in developing new ways to do things.

Defining these is just the first step in the process and equally where many organisations often stop. The real value is in bringing them to life, that’s where you start seeing tangible outcomes. When you reach this stage, some of the things you will need to consider include:

  • How will they be positioned and communicated to the team?
  • How will they become a part of organisational practices and processes?
  • How will you make sure they ‘stick’ and that their associated behaviours become a central part of your organisation?

If you want to chat through your current purpose, mission, vision, and values or, start the process of getting them shaped, get in touch.

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