Though they are not as good as a crystal ball, good mission and vision statements should invoke a desirable future and create uneasiness with the status quo.
What’s in It for Me?
Reading this chapter will help you do the following:
1. Understand the roles of mission, vision, and values in the planning process.
2. Understand how mission and vision fit into the planning-organizing-leading-controlling (P-O-L-C) framework.
3. See how creativity and passion are related to vision.
4. Incorporate stakeholder interests into mission and vision.
5. Develop statements that articulate organizational mission and vision. 6. Apply mission, vision, and values to your personal goals and professional career. As you are reminded in the figure, the letter “P” in the P-O-L-C framework stands for “planning.” Good plans are meant to achieve something—this something is captured in verbal and written statements of an organization’s mission and vision (its purpose, in addition to specific goals and objectives). With a mission and vision, you can craft a strategy for achieving them, and your benchmarks for judging your progress and success are clear goals and objectives.
Mission and vision communicate the organization’s values and purpose, and the best mission and vision statements have an emotional component in that they incite employees to delight customers. The three “planning” topics of your principles of management cover (1) mission and vision, (2) strategy, and (3) goals and objectives. The figure summarizes how these pieces work together. Figure 4.2. Mission and Vision as P-O-L-C Components
Figure 4.3. Mission and Vision in the Planning Process
The Roles of Mission, Vision, and Values
1. Be able to define mission and vision.
2. See how values are important for mission and vision.
3. Understand the roles of vision, mission, and values in the P-O-L-C framework. Mission, Vision, and Values
Mission and vision both relate to an organization’s purpose and are typically communicated in some written form. Mission and vision are statements from the organization that answer questions about who we are, what do we value, and where we’re going. A study by the consulting firm Bain and Company reports that 90% of the 500 firms surveyed issue some form of mission and vision statements. Moreover, firms with clearly communicated, widely understood, and collectively shared mission and vision have been shown to perform better than those without them, with the caveat that they related to effectiveness only when strategy and goals and objectives were aligned with them as well. A mission statementmission statementA statement of purpose, describing who the company is and what it does. communicates the organization’s reason for being, and how it aims to serve its key stakeholders.
Customers, employees, and investors are the stakeholders most often emphasized, but other stakeholders like government or communities (i.e., in the form of social or environmental impact) can also be discussed. Mission statements are often longer than vision statements. Sometimes mission statements also include a summation of the firm’s values. ValuesvaluesShared principles, standards, and goals. are the beliefs of an individual or group, and in this case the organization, in which they are emotionally invested. The Starbucks mission statement describes six guiding principles that, as you can see, also communicate the organization’s values: 1. Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity. 2. Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business. 3. Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting and fresh delivery of our coffee. 4. Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time. 5. Contribute positively to our communities and our environment. 6. Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.
Similarly, Toyota declares its global corporate principles to be: 1. Honor the language and spirit of the law of every nation and undertake open and fair corporate activities to be a good corporate citizen of the world. 2. Respect the culture and customs of every nation and contribute to economic and social development through corporate activities in the communities. 3. Dedicate ourselves to providing clean and safe products and to enhancing the quality of life everywhere through all our activities. 4. Create and develop advanced technologies and provide outstanding products and services that fulfill the needs of customers worldwide. 5. Foster a corporate culture that enhances individual creativity and teamwork value, while honoring mutual trust and respect between labor and management. 6. Pursue growth in harmony with the global community through innovative management. 7. Work with business partners in research and creation to achieve stable, long-term growth and mutual benefits, while keeping ourselves open to new partnerships.
A vision statementvision statementA future-oriented declaration of the organization’s purpose and aspirations., in contrast, is a future-oriented declaration of the organization’s purpose and aspirations. In many ways, you can say that the mission statement lays out the organization’s “purpose for being,” and the vision statement then says, “based on that purpose, this is what we want to become.” The strategy should flow directly from the vision, since the strategy is intended to achieve the vision and thus satisfy the organization’s mission. Typically, vision statements are relatively brief, as in the case of Starbuck’s vision statement, which reads: “Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles as we grow.”
Or ad firm Ogilvy & Mather, which states their vision as “an agency defined by its devotion to brands.” Sometimes the vision statement is also captured in a short tag line, such as Toyota’s “moving forward” statement that appears in most communications to customers, suppliers, and employees. Similarly, Wal-Mart’s tag-line version of its vision statement is “Save money. Live better.” Any casual tour of business or organization Web sites will expose you to the range of forms that mission and vision statements can take. To reiterate, mission statements are longer than vision statements, often because they convey the organizations core values.
Mission statements answer the questions of “Who are we?” and “What does our organization value?” Vision statements typically take the form of relatively brief, future-oriented statements—vision statements answer the question “Where is this organization going?” Increasingly, organizations also add a values statementvalues statementA written statement that reaffirms or states outright the organization’s values that might not be evident in the mission or vision statements. which either reaffirms or states outright the organization’s values that might not be evident in the mission or vision statements. Roles Played by Mission and Vision
Mission and vision statements play three critical roles: (1) communicate the purpose of the organization to stakeholders, (2) inform strategy development, and (3) develop the measurable goals and objectives by which to gauge the success of the organization’s strategy. These interdependent, cascading roles, and the relationships among them, are summarized in the figure.
Figure 4.4. Key Roles of Mission and Vision
First, mission and vision provide a vehicle for communicating an organization’s purpose and values to all key stakeholders. Stakeholders are those key parties who have some influence over the organization or stake in its future. You will learn more about stakeholders and stakeholder analysis later in this chapter; however, for now, suffice it to say that some key stakeholders are employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and institutions such as governments. Typically, these statements would be widely circulated and discussed often so that their meaning is widely understood, shared, and internalized. The better employees understand an organization’s purpose, through its mission and vision, the better able they will be to understand the strategy and its implementation. Second, mission and vision create a target for strategy development. That is, one criterion of a good strategy is how well it helps the firm achieve its mission and vision.
To better understand the relationship among mission, vision, and strategy, it is sometimes helpful to visualize them collectively as a funnel. At the broadest part of the funnel, you find the inputs into the mission statement. Toward the narrower part of the funnel, you find the vision statement, which has distilled down the mission in a way that it can guide the development of the strategy. In the narrowest part of the funnel you find the strategy —it is clear and explicit about what the firm will do, and not do, to achieve the vision. Vision statements also provide a bridge between the mission and the strategy. In that sense the best vision statements create a tension and restlessness with regard to the status quo—that is, they should foster a spirit of continuous innovation and improvement.
For instance, in the case of Toyota, its “moving forward” vision urges managers to find newer and more environmentally friendly ways of delighting the purchaser of their cars. London Business School professors Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad describe this tense relationship between vision and strategy as stretch and ambition. Indeed, in a study of such able competitors as CNN, British Airways, and Sony, they found that these firms displaced competitors with stronger reputations and deeper pockets through their ambition to stretch their organizations in more innovative ways. Third, mission and vision provide a high-level guide, and the strategy provides a specific guide, to the goals and objectives showing success or failure of the strategy and satisfaction of the larger set of objectives stated in the mission. In the cases of both Starbucks and Toyota, you would expect to see profitability goals, in addition to metrics on customer and employee satisfaction, and social and environmental responsibility. Key Takeaway
Mission and vision both relate to an organization’s purpose and aspirations, and are typically communicated in some form of brief written statements. A mission statement communicates the organization’s reason for being and how it aspires to serve its key stakeholders. The vision statement is a narrower, future-oriented declaration of the organization’s purpose and aspirations. Together, mission and vision guide strategy development, help communicate the organization’s purpose to stakeholders, and inform the goals and objectives set to determine whether the strategy is on track Mission and Vision in the P-O-L-C Framework
1. Understand the role of mission and vision in organizing.
2. Understand the role of mission and vision in leading.
3. Understand the role of mission and vision in controlling. Mission and vision play such a prominent role in the planning facet of the P-O-L-C framework. However, you are probably not surprised to learn that their role does not stop there. Beyond the relationship between mission and vision,
strategy, and goals and objectives, you should expect to see mission and vision being related to the organizing, leading, and controlling aspects as well. Let’s look at these three areas in turn.
Mission, Vision, and Organizing
OrganizingorganizingThe function of management that involves developing an organizational structure and allocating human resources to ensure the accomplishment of objectives. is the function of management that involves developing an organizational structure and allocating human resources to ensure the accomplishment of objectives. The organizing facet of the P-O-L-C framework typically includes subjects such as organization design, staffing, and organizational culture. With regard to organizing, it is useful to think about alignment between the mission and vision and various organizing activities. For instance, organizational designorganizational designA formal, guided process for integrating the people, information, and technology of an organization. is a formal, guided process for integrating the people, information, and technology of an organization. It is used to match the form of the organization as closely as possible to the purpose(s) the organization seeks to achieve.
Through the design process, organizations act to improve the probability that the collective efforts of members will be successful. Organization design should reflect and support the strategy—in that sense, organizational design is a set of decision guidelines by which members will choose appropriate actions, appropriate in terms of their support for the strategy. As you learned in the previous section, the strategy is derived from the mission and vision statements and from the organization’s basic values. Strategy unifies the intent of the organization and focuses members toward actions designed to accomplish desired outcomes. The strategy encourages actions that support the purpose and discourages those that do not. To organize, you must connect people with each other in meaningful and purposeful ways.
Further, you must connect people—human resources—with the information and technology necessary for them to be successful. Organization structure defines the formal relationships among people and specifies both their roles and their responsibilities. Administrative systems govern the organization through guidelines, procedures, and policies. Information and technology define the process(es) through which members achieve outcomes. Each element must support each of the others, and together they must support the organization’s purpose, as reflected in its mission and vision. Figure 4.5.
Pixar’s creative prowess is reinforced by Disney’s organizational design choices.
For example, in 2006, Disney acquired Pixar, a firm is renowned for its creative prowess in animated entertainment. Disney summarizes the Pixar strategy like this: “Pixar’s [strategy] is to combine proprietary technology and world-class creative talent to develop computer-animated feature films with memorable characters and heartwarming stories that appeal to audiences of all ages.” Disney has helped Pixar achieve this strategy through an important combination of structural design choices. First, Pixar is an independent division of Disney and is empowered to make independent choices in all aspects of idea development. Second, Pixar gives its “creatives”—its artists, writers, and designers—great leeway over decision making. Third, Pixar protects its creatives’ ability to share work in progress, up and down the hierarchy, with the aim of getting it even better. Finally, after each project, teams conduct “postmortems” to catalog what went right and what went wrong.
This way, innovations gained through new projects can be shared with later projects, while at the same time sharing knowledge about potential pitfalls. Organizational cultureorganizational cultureA system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs showing people what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior. is the workplace environment formulated from the interaction of the employees in the workplace. Organizational culture is defined by all of the life experiences, strengths, weaknesses, education, upbringing, and other attributes of the employees. While executive leaders play a large role in defining organizational culture by their actions and leadership, all employees contribute to the organizational culture. As you might imagine, achieving alignment between mission and vision and organizational culture can be very powerful, but culture is also difficult to change. This means that if you are seeking to change your vision or mission, your ability to change the organization’s culture to support those new directions may be difficult, or, at least, slow to achieve.
For instance, in 2000, Procter & Gamble (P&G) sought to change a fundamental part of its vision in a way that asked the organization to source more of its innovations from external partners. Historically, P&G had invested heavily in research and development and internal sources of innovation—so much so that “not invented here” (known informally as NIH) was the dominant cultural mind-set. NIH describes a sociological, corporate, or institutional culture that avoids using products, research, or knowledge that originated anywhere other than inside the organization. It is normally used in a pejorative sense. As a sociological phenomenon, the “not invented here” syndrome is manifested as an unwillingness to adopt an idea or product because it originates from another culture. P&G has been able to combat this NIH bias and gradually change its culture toward one that is more open to external contributions, and hence in much better alignment with its current mission and vision. Social networkssocial networkIndividuals or organizations tied to one another by one or more specific types of interdependency. are often referred to as the “invisible organization.”
They consist of individuals or organizations connected by one or more specific types of interdependency. You are probably already active in social networks through such Web communities as MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn. However, these sites are really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the emerging body of knowledge surrounding social networks. Networks deliver three unique advantages: access to “private” information (i.e., information that companies do not want competitors to have), access to diverse skill sets, and power. You may be surprised to learn that many big companies have breakdowns in communications even in divisions where the work on one project should be related to work on another. Going back to our Pixar example, for instance, Disney is fostering a network among members of its Pixar division in a way that they are more likely to share information and learn from others.
The open internal network also means that a cartoon designer might have easier access to a computer programmer and together they can figure out a more innovative solution. Finally, since Pixar promotes communication across hierarchical levels and gives creatives decision-making authority, the typical power plays that might impede sharing innovation and individual creativity are prevented. Managers see these three network advantages at work every day but might not pause to consider how their networks regulate them.
Mission, Vision, and Leading
LeadingleadingInvolves influencing others toward the attainment of organizational objectives. involves influencing others toward the attainment of organizational objectives. Leading and leadership are nearly synonymous with the notions of mission and vision. We might describe a very purposeful person as being “on a mission.” As an example, Steve Demos had the personal mission of replacing cow’s milk with soy milk in U.S. supermarkets, and this mission led to his vision for, and strategy behind, the firm White Wave and its Silk line of soy milk products. Similarly, we typically think of some individuals as leaders because they are visionary. For instance, when Walt Disney suggested building a theme park in a Florida swamp back in the early 1960s, few other people in the world seemed to share his view. Any task—whether launching Silk or building the Disney empire— is that much more difficult if attempted alone.
Therefore, the more that a mission or vision challenges the status quo—and recognizing that good vision statements always need to create some dissonance with the status quo—the greater will be the organization’s need of what leadership researcher Shiba calls “real change leaders”—people who will help diffuse the revolutionary philosophy even while the leader (i.e., the founder or CEO) is not present. Without real change leaders, a revolutionary vision would remain a mere idea of the visionary CEO—they are the ones who make the implementation of the transformation real. In most cases where we think of revolutionary companies, we associate the organization’s vision with its leader—for instance, Apple and Steve Jobs, Dell and Michael Dell, or Google with the team of Sergey Brin and Larry Page.
Most important, in all three of these organizations, the leaders focused on creating an organization with a noble mission that enabled the employees and management team to achieve not only the strategic breakthrough but to also realize their personal dreams in the process. Speaking to the larger relationship between mission, vision, strategy, and leadership, are the Eight principles of visionary leadership, derived from Shiba’s 2001 book, Four Practical Revolutions in Management (summarized in “Eight Principles of Visionary Leadership”).
Eight Principles of Visionary Leadership
* Principle 1: The visionary leader must do on-site observation leading to personal perception of changes in societal values from an outsider’s point of view. * Principle 2: Even though there is resistance, never give up; squeeze the resistance between outside-in (i.e., customer or society-led) pressure in combination with top-down inside instruction. * Principle 3: Revolution is begun with symbolic disruption of the old or traditional system through top-down efforts to create chaos within the organization. * Principle 4: The direction of revolution is illustrated by a symbolically visible image and the visionary leader’s symbolic behavior.
* Principle 5: Quickly establishing new physical, organizational, and behavioral systems is essential for successful revolution. * Principle 6: Real change leaders are necessary to enable revolution. * Principle 7: Create an innovative system to provide feedback from results. * Principle 8: Create a daily operation system, including a new work structure, new approach to human capabilities and improvement activities.
Vision That Pervades the Organization
A broader definition of visionary leadership suggests that, if many or most of an organization’s employees understand and identify with the mission and vision, efficiency will increase because the organization’s members “on the front lines” will be making decisions fully aligned with the organization’s goals. Efficiency is achieved with limited hands-on supervision because the mission and vision serve as a form of cruise control. To make frontline responsibility effective, leadership must learn to trust workers and give them sufficient opportunities to develop quality decision-making skills. The classic case about Johnsonville Sausage, recounted by CEO Ralph Stayer, documents how that company dramatically improved its fortunes after Stayer shared responsibility for the mission and vision, and ultimately development of the actual strategy, with all of his employees.
His vision was the quest for an answer to “What Johnsonville would have to be to sell the most expensive sausage in the industry and still have the biggest market share?” Of course, he made other important changes as well, such as decentralizing decision making and tying individual’s rewards to company-wide performance, but he initiated them by communicating the organization’s mission and vision and letting his employees know that he believed they could make the choices and decisions needed to realize them. Mission and vision are also relevant to leadership well beyond the impact of one or several top executives.
Even beyond existing employees, various stakeholders—customers, suppliers, prospective new employees—are visiting organizations’ Web sites to read their mission and vision statements. In the process, they are trying to understand what kind of organization they are reading about and what the organization’s values and ethics are. Ultimately, they are seeking to determine whether the organization and what it stands for are a good fit for them.
Vision, Mission, and Controlling
ControllingcontrollingEnsuring that performance does not deviate from standards. Controlling consists of three steps, which include (1) establishing performance standards, (2) comparing actual performance against standards, and (3) taking corrective action when necessary. involves ensuring that performance does not deviate from standards. Controlling consists of three steps: (1) establishing performance standards, (2) comparing actual performance against standards, and (3) taking corrective action when necessary. Mission and vision are both directly and indirectly related to all three steps.
Recall that mission and vision tell a story about an organization’s purpose and aspirations. Mission and vision statements are often ambiguous by design because they are intended to inform the strategy not be the strategy. Nevertheless, those statements typically provide a general compass heading for the organization and its employees. For instance, vision may say something about innovativeness, growth, or firm performance, and the firm will likely have set measurable objectives related to these. Performance standards often exceed actual performance but, ideally, managers will outline a set of metrics that can help to predict the future, not just evaluate the past. It is helpful to think about such metrics as leading, lagging, and pacing indicators. A leading indicatorleading indicatorA measure of performance that serves to predict where the firm is going, in terms of performance. actually serves to predict where the firm is going, in terms of performance.
For instance, General Electric asks customers whether they will refer it new business, and GE’s managers have found that this measure of customer satisfaction does a pretty good job of predicting future sales. A pacing indicatorpacing indicatorA measure of performance that tells you in real-time that the organization is on track. tells you in real time that the organization is on track, for example, in on-time deliveries or machinery that is in operation (as opposed to being under repair or in maintenance).
A lagging indicatorlagging indicatorA measure of performance that shows how well the firm has done historically. is the one we are all most familiar with. Firm financial performance, for instance, is an accounting-based summary of how well the firm has done historically. Even if managers can calculate such performance quickly, the information is still historic and not pacing or leading. Increasingly, firms compile a set of such leading, lagging, and pacing goals and objectives and organize them in the form of a dashboard or Balanced Scorecard.
Actual Versus Desired Performance
The goals and objectives that flow from your mission and vision provide a basis for assessing actual versus desired performance. In many ways, such goals and objectives provide a natural feedback loop that helps managers see when and how they are succeeding and where they might need to take corrective action. This is one reason goals and objectives should ideally be specific and measurable. Moreover, to the extent that they serve as leading, lagging, and pacing performance metrics, they enable managers to take corrective action on any deviations from goals before too much damage has been done.