Chapter 25Vision, Mission and Other Buzzwords

Every strategy needs an anchor and a North Star. Something to ground it in reality and a neat set of words or phrases that capture what it is we are trying to achieve, why and how. We consultants love to lead executive teams in endless hours of word-smithing in the quest to develop motivational mantras to enthuse and engage their businesses in exciting new directions. But do they work? Or perhaps a more useful question – which ones would work best for my organisation?

This should be a straightforward topic, yet if you put a dozen different strategy consultants in a room, you would hear 12 different definitions of what a Vision or Mission Statement should comprise and how they should be phrased. In this chapter, I have tried to cut a swathe through the jungle of jargon and simplify the whole subject. I shall let you be the judge as to whether I have succeeded or not. We will take a peek at the ‘Big 5’ – Vision, Mission, Purpose, Capabilities and Values – and discuss the pros and cons of each to help you cherry pick the ones that are best suited to your company. Then I will share with you my view on the key guiding questions I recommend you answer to give your strategy the direction and guidance it needs.

To Vision Or Not to Vision?

Visions are for dreamers. There is nothing wrong with dreaming.

A vision is the ideal. The word is defined as ‘the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be’ (Dictionary.com) or

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