Your mission, vision and values are what define your business and can steer the manner in which you operate. However, we often find that many businesses either don’t have any in place, or they simply remain amongst senior staff and aren’t communicated to employees throughout the entire business. While on the surface either of these situations might not have any instantly catastrophic impact on a business, it can over time have a detrimental effect on the running of the business and lead to the erosion of company values.

This blog will look at what your mission, vision and values are and hopefully help to shed some light on their importance and why we maintain the need for their presence to be made apparent to everyone involved in the business.

What is a mission, vision and value?

To begin with we need to better understand what each of these terms mean as you might find they’re used interchangeably by people and in turn become business spiel that lacks any real substance.

Your mission is your long-term overarching purpose. This is what you aim for the business to become and can make for a benchmark which clearly states the expectations that the business hopes to work towards and inspires those working within it. Don’t mistake it for a quantifiable goal such as achieving £x million turnover, think of it as being a more ambitious statement which really outlines your intent. For example, Coca-Cola state their mission as being:

  • To refresh the world…
  • To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…
  • To create value and make a difference.

As you can see their mission doesn’t mention financial goals and is instead centred around the brand and its impact on consumers. Being aware of a mission of a global brand such as Coca-Cola is handy in that it allows you to see just how ambitious you can be. While your mission might not be a lofty as that mentioned above, it’s certainly worth taking inspiration from.

Your vision looks more at the present state of the business and makes up the key elements that will allow you to work towards your mission. This is usually more detailed and can touch on many aspects which in turn are likely to play a part in shaping the company culture. Coca-Cola’s vision is as follows:

  • People: Be a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.
  • Portfolio: Bring to the world a portfolio of quality beverage brands that anticipate and satisfy people’s desires and needs.
  • Partners: Nurture a winning network of customers and suppliers, together we create mutual, enduring value.
  • Planet: Be a responsible citizen that makes a difference by helping build and support sustainable communities.
  • Profit: Maximize long-term return to shareowners while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.
  • Productivity: Be a highly effective, lean and fast-moving organization.

Your vision can take into account factors that relate to the internal running of your business along with external factors which will influence the manner in which you operate and are perceived by the outside world. For example, Coca-Cola focus on “inspiring” their own employees while also actively playing a positive role in “building & supporting sustainable communities”.

And finally, your values are what will really impact your company culture and the manner in which you operate on a day-to-day basis. This will not only take into account the internal operations of the business, but also the relationships you build with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. When outlining your values you need to look at aspects of your business on a more micro scale, see some of Coca-Cola’s values listed below:

  • Leadership: The courage to shape a better future
  • Collaboration: Leverage collective genius
  • Integrity: Be real
  • Accountability: If it is to be, it’s up to me
  • Passion: Committed in heart and mind
  • Diversity: As inclusive as our brands
  • Quality: What we do, we do well

Your values are what need to be communicated too your employees on a regular basis so as to ensure they’re fully aware of them since it’s these that in many cases can shape the way they go about their work.

Why they should be communicated throughout your work place?

Coming up with a mission, vision and values is fine, however in order for them to really serve a purpose there needs to be buy-in across the entire business. If your employees aren’t aware of your mission, vision and values then don’t expect them to work in accordance to them, and don’t expect your customers to ever really come to realise them either.

Take for instance the manner in which Coca-Cola communicates its brand through its advertising. Much of the messaging reflects the mission with ads being centred around sharing a smile and refreshment, especially in the summer. This can only be achieved on a consistent basis if the mission, vision and values are clearly communicated and all departments within the company are aware of them.

It’s also important that everyone in the business is inspired by and believes in the mission vision and values you set. Therefore, the involvement of staff from all levels to contribute to these is certainly recommended. Finding a common ground which is well communicated can help to give everyone a collective purpose to work towards which in turn should not only see employees strive to work harder but also allow your brand to be perceived in the manner you wish by your customers.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.