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Are Your Company's Vision and Mission Merely Lip Service

Cai Yuqian

February 17, 2020

Photo by Anastasia Petrova on Unsplash

Many companies ignore the power of mission and vision and it brings negative impacts both internally and externally.

When it comes to your company’s mission and vision statement, what comes to mind? A fancy but forgettable sentence on the company’s website? Or a catchy slogan that the executives emphasise again and again during company-wide meetings but does not seem to figure when they make decisions?

Sadly, many companies ignore the power of mission and vision, and when a crisis comes, they are unaware that what they are missing is a compelling direction. Without a mission and vision, a company suffers internally. Employees can find themselves lost when faced with business decisions and some may feel a lack of purpose in the work that they are doing, which could lead to poor employee morale and unsatisfactory productivity. Besides, a company may find it challenging to sustain itself because of two reasons. First, it’s difficult to differentiate itself amid intense competition in the market. Second, without clear goals and values that drive its people, execution suffers which further impacts the overall business negatively.

The big technology company Dell has come across this problem before. An employee posted a question in the Dell Community forum asking what is the vision and mission statement of the company back in 2015:

“Hello, I have searched our intranet trying to find the Dell Mission and Vision statements and cannot locate. My coworkers could not locate them as well. Where can we find this information?”

The idea is simple. If the people creating value for your company have no idea what the organisation is heading and striving for, how would you expect they make informed and sensible decisions at work?

Furthermore, externally the company may lose its attractiveness to its customers. When there are no mission and vision or they are not resonating to customers, they have little emotional connection with the brand. Eventually, customer loyalty will just be a pipe dream. Also, many companies ignore the fact that a company’s mission and vision actually IS the brand. Detaching your marketing from your company mission leads to inconsistency which can breed unnecessary confusion and doubt.

In order to have a strong business, a compelling vision and a concrete mission are necessary.

In order to establish a strong business, a strong vision and mission are necessary. Although they are often used interchangeably, our understanding is that a vision is a world you envision, and a mission is how your company is going to make the vision happen. Along the way, your company sets goals, both long-term and short-term ones, to achieve it.

There are many benefits for a business to do so. When the vision and mission are clearly defined and communicated, a company can strategise. SMART goals and OKRs can be defined easily as a result, and there will also be alignment across different stakeholders. As humans, we care about values that align with ours, so when people feel compelled and motivated by the company’s mission and vision, it’s much more meaningful and sustainable than offering hygiene factors like fancy working environments.

One good example is e-commerce company Shopee. Their mission and vision statement is “We believe online shopping should be accessible, easy and enjoyable. This is the vision Shopee aspires to deliver on the platform, every single day.” See how compelling and straightforward it is? In order to do that, the company “offers a one-stop online shopping experience that provides a wide selection of products, a social community for exploration, and seamless fulfilment services.” Isn’t that closely linked to shopping being accessible, enjoyable and easy?

Let a good vision be the beacon and a good mission be the powerful ship for your company.

What can your company do today? Let a good vision be the beacon and a good mission be the powerful ship for your company to level up the game! Spend time with your management team reflecting on/reconsidering the company mission and vision. Also, remember, it’s more than a fancy statement on your website. Let it penetrate your company culture and become deeply rooted. Finally, zoom in to let it guide your employees’ daily decision-making in their work, and zoom out to let it guide your company’s strategising process and long-term planning. Start now and stay ahead of the game!

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