Setting the basics: Creating Vision, Mission and Strategies

(GA 2010)

One of the most important skills for a leader is the ability to translate the company vision, mission and strategies into actions.

Vision is a short statement of the desired future.  It is the primary means for communicating the objective to employees and aligning the organization behind it.

Extremely important for senior executives to examine the context in which they are conducting their business i.e.: How it is changing?  What are the opportunities and threats?  Analysis the strengths and weakness of the company, who are the customers and what are their needs?  Where is the competition heading?  And what are the tools available to succeed?

Full understanding and answering these questions will guide the management team to develop techniques, strategies and plan of actions.

The vision should be short, clear, involving, memorable statement and with some elements of emotion. It is also important that the vision is measurable.

The hardest part is to have all employees in the organization own the same vision therefore the company vision cannot be created in the board room but through a concurrence and buys-in by as many employees as possible.

A vision statement is not a PR line but it has to be unique to the organization.

Mission is what the organization is in business to do and how it wants to do it.  It is also a means to clearly communicate strategic directions and align organizational resources.

Vision defines the destination while mission defines the road map and it should be supported by guiding principles / values.

The mission should define the key elements of being in the particular business i.e.: What are we in?  What is our purpose?  Target customers?  Value that we will provide?  What differentiates us from others?  How we score our success?  And how others judge us?

Guiding principles (or values) is in support to the mission and is the base that holds the organization together binding the different cultures of its people.

Mission is a short statement while values or guiding principles are clear and measurable statements on what it is expected by stressing common goals to ensure that the corporation will function as a unified competitive and responsible entity.

Strategy is the means in turning vision and mission into reality.  It is a process to define necessary activities and clear directions to achieve the desired results.
Each element of the vision and of the mission has to be examined in detail i.e.: What value must we offer our customers to win in this particular segment?  What are the factors?  How does our structure support what we want to achieve?

The strategy must be unique to the organization and drives decisions, fundings, budgets, development, etc.
The essence of strategy is choosing to perform activities differently than competitors do.  A company can outperform competitors only if it can establish a difference that it can preserve, i.e.: superior consistency.
“Superior Strategy – Superior Results”.

The value of setting goals
As leaders we need to know where are we going and how to get there.  We also must know how to perform a multitude of functions in order to produce the desired goals / targets.  These must be measurable goals connected to sales and revenue targets, to profitability, to internal and external customer’s satisfaction and others as per needs of the organization.

It has been proven that people who set goals perform more effectively than those who do not set goals.  Also goal setting tends to increase the company’s bottom line.
Five components in setting goals:

1.Specific:Goals should be explicit and unclouded.  Something to aim towards without misinterpretation.
2.Measurable:Goals must be measurable because the resulting objectivity helps define goals of actions that one can readily see.
3.Acceptable:Goals must not be imposed by upper management or the superior but accepted and committed by the person receiving the goals.
4.Challenging but Realistic:Goals should be challenging.  They should also be set with regard to an individual’s capabilities and limitations.  But goals should be achievable otherwise the person loses interest.
5.Timely:Goals should be temporarily relevant, that is, appropriate for short term concerns i.e.: 6 months or one year.

Goal setting cannot be implemented without effective, regular coaching.  Ensure that goals are created together with those that will have to achieve them.  Have measurable milestones along the way and most importantly must include incentive of reaching / exceeding the targets.

Goals are to be properly documented and signed by both parties.  Ideally there should be a scheduled review between supervisors and subordinates to assess progress and address shortcomings.

Once the goals are finalized, it is important to set objective for each goal: objectives are short term milestones that enable people to map out the conditions that must be met for goals to be reached.
An important facet of goal achievement is keeping accurate records of the progress made towards goal accomplishment.  Precise records will document gradual progress towards distant goal(s).
Good timing of setting goals is very important i.e.: beginning of the year for the annual goals and at the beginning of a specific period (low season?) for short term goals.

For consistency purpose, it is strongly recommended to develop a not too complicated format used throughout the organization stating the method used to document and score each goal.  The format also includes areas of improvement to be made and specific trainings / development program for the individual.

Method of calculating the incentive / bonus is the same throughout the organization; however the specific amount given to each participant is to be strictly confidential.