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Why ‘Start-Ups’ Need Vision and Mission Statement

In recent decade there has been remarkable evidence supporting that organizations which are well defined outperform those which are not! Business definition here implies knowing where your organization is going and why? Primarily, defining where the business is going and why is a 'trademark' of strategic management.

The understanding of strategic management is varied across business and management scholars and practitioners. Luckily, there is a concurrence in considering that strategic management is a process rather than an event. Basically it involves a number of logical stages as opposed to being a one spectacular event. No stage maybe considered lesser than the other.

Defining the vision and mission statements are considered the first step of strategic management process. They are key components of strategic direction! Others are goals and core values. Interestingly, Smock Sterling Consultants reminds us that some of the earliest and strongest visions were religious in nature: The visions of Buddha, Moses, Christ, and Mohammed still compel and move followers throughout the world.

For startups, setting a strategic direction is crucial in that it communicates to your clients and even your employees about your organization. The First step in setting strategic direction is to have in place a Vision, Mission Statement and Core values.

The principal value of strategic direction is communicating who you are, what you do, and where you are headed. The famous quote by the late French artist Paul Gauguin, 1897 (Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?) potrays deeper insight of components of strategic direction.

Today’s start-ups are born to an era of a competitive scenario. Just like a ship which has to sail through turbulent and deep waters, they are faced with a volatile and chaotic business environment caused by emerging trends, evolving missions, and changing market conditions.

Further, with geographical boundaries and ‘traditional’ culture ceasing to make sense, implies that your start-up will operate in a ‘global village’. Survival in such environment, Dr J M Sampath advises that Start-ups requires wisdom and not muscles! For sure wisdom remains inadequate. A commodity that doesn’t observe the market forces! The ultimate solution is developing vision and mission statements and defining the core values of your organization.

Why Vision and Mission Statement?

A vision statement helps in articulating the position that your organization would like to attain in the distant future. Its significance is clearly explained by Mark Victor Hansen’s quote: ‘With vision, every person, organization and country can flourish. The Bible says, 'Without vision we perish.'

A vision plays the role of inspiring, exhilarating, creating a common identity and a shared sense of purpose. In words of Marc de Jong et, Nathan Marston, and Erik Roth in their article on The eight essentials of innovation (McKinsey Quarterly, April 2015) they noted that a far-reaching vision is a compelling catalyst, provided it’s realistic enough to stimulate action today.

Vision is futuristic in nature, though a bad developed one will be outlived by the organization! A scenario no organization want to find itself there unless if there is overhaul change of their business mandate!

On the other hand, Mission statement explains the nature and type of your business and target clients. It tells your clients what to expect.

Need for a mission statement could be better explained by Brian Tracy quote: All successful people men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.

Guiding principles for your business

With over about 2,000 documented core values, startups are required to have about 5!

Core values define your business. They are guiding principles for your business. An American writer Jennifer Crusie is quoted saying: Values aren't buses... They're not supposed to get you anywhere. They're supposed to define who you are.

Similarly, Roy Disney is quoted saying: It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.

Most big businesses are fond of erecting their visions, missions and goals for general public. Somehow this serves as a marketing tool for such businesses. But the most important is the 'inculcation' of these components of strategic direction into the hearts and souls of all the employees of your organization.

Just like the biblical parable of lighting candles, you’ve to mount your vision, mission and core values on the highest point; the heart and soul of your employees.

Essentially strategic direction lays a foundation for the growth of your business.

Strabuck Consultants View:

Having a vision, mission and core values is in order, but communicating it over and over again aids in ‘inculcating’ the strategic direction of your business to your employees. The management should spearhead it. Literally, all the employees should be aware that in their daily operations in one way or the other they are contributing to the achievement of Vision!

A general observation is that most visions by small organizations are inherent (or implicit) in nature. The fate fall is that you don’t expect your clients to read your mind. It doesn’t cost much to display it. After all it’s a ‘free’ form of marketing your business, products and services.

Employees in the organization must be aware and live the mission and vision statements they intend to achieve guided by the core values.

Seemingly, vision remains a catalyst to the entire strategic planning process. However we are of view that both vision, mission and core values are instrumental in establishing and achieving strategic direction of both startups and existing businesses!

In this digital age, the pace of change has gone into hyperspeed, so small organizations and other laggards must get their strategic direction right to be considered a relevant industry player. And this ought to be consistently and regularly communicated to the employees.

All employees have a role to play in realization of the vision. In essence, the 'indoctrination' process should enable them realize their role. In any case that their conscience contradicts the vision of the organization at any point, they are required to ignore this contradiction, lest they are labeled a ‘mutineer’.

Last modified on Saturday, 07 November 2015 10:41
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