Mission, Vision and Strategy Explained on One Page

Everybody is getting Mission, Vision and Strategy mixed-up and wrong – so here’s a handy one-page guide.

I don’t do much strategy work these days, in favour of my one-to-one and team work. But, I do get a little fed-up with all the remedial team and leadership coaching I need to do which is partly driven by organisations getting some of their structural factors wrong.

In particular, nobody seems to understand how Mission, Vision and Strategy should play nicely together, cascading from the top down. Other stuff that really bugs me includes:

  1. Why do organisations work on their values without having a good idea what their purpose is first? No wonder their people are confused about what their priorities are and how they should be behaving!
  2. And why don’t businesses get their long-term mission straight, before thinking about the mid-term or immediate future?
  3. Why does nobody seem to have a compelling vision now, instead of “Oh, let’s just carry on as before but maybe do a bit more of it.“?
  4. Why is everybody so terrified of doing proper competitive analysis that their strategy is really just a list of stuff they were going to do anyway, instead of a way to win in their marketplace?

Anyway, rather than just rant, I thought if I put it all on a handy one-page guide, that might actually be useful. Click the image above and then alt-click it to save as or download your copy.

As usual, please leave me a comment if they’re still open below, or tweet me @NickRobCoach. Tell me I’m wrong, and that your organisation has a proper, cascading Mission, Vision and Strategy covering all the points I’ve listed.

Keeping your mind fresh and flexible

When was the last time you travelled home from work on a different route to normal?

In my coaching work I often encourage people, especially those who are maybe a little stuck or who want to up their game, to go and seek out variety and unpredictability.

This is important because so much of what we do, what we say and how we think, is driven by habit. Habit is useful, because it’s ‘expensive’ from a brain-power point of view to have to stop and think about things before we do them. Being on autopilot is efficient. And yet, if habit is all that drives us, how do we develop, learn and grow?

I’ve long argued that the extra brain-expense of doing things like driving home on a different route every now and then, is a good investment, because it helps our brains make new connections and be more pliable. Those connections and that pliability are extremely useful for increased problem-solving and mental and sensory acuity – the ability to spot information and recognise patterns.

So it was interesting reading Steven Kotler’s book “The Rise of Superman – decoding the science of ultimate human performance,” in which Kotler cites unpredictability and novelty as being essential steps towards achieving what athletes call flow state.

“[things like] brushing your teeth with the wrong hand,” says Kotler, “…increases novelty and unpredictability, demanding focus and pattern recognition.”

I’m still only half-way through that book and undecided about just how useful it might be, but it’s nice to see others also emphasising these points. Kotler also goes on to quote renowned neuroscientist James Olds as saying that new routines in our daily lives produce dopamine and norepinephrine, the feel-good chemicals that our brains use to amplify focus and enhance performance. In fact, I got really excited, because Kotler then says that James Olds practices what he preaches by driving home from work a different route every night!! Unfortunately, even though this would be a great way to justify what I’ve been telling people to do for years, I don’t think it’s entirely accurate – read for yourself what Olds did actually say in one interview by clicking here.

Regardless of that possible slip up, I’m interested in how you keep things fresh and your brain nice and flexible? How do you make sure that not everything you do is driven by habit or routine?

As usual, please leave me a comment if they’re still open below, or tweet me @NickRobCoach.

Recovery Position

What kind of first aid is good for when we hit a minor mental or emotional wobble at work?

I did a great course a couple of years ago on outdoor first aid (see this link).

I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a piece of learning as much as this for ages, partly because it was so practical and relevant to the outdoor volunteering I was doing at the time.

Looking back over my first aid notes recently and after having had a bit of a confidence wobble about some completely unrelated work, it made me think about how I sometimes recover from those wobbles better and faster than at other times.

I wondered if there was a kind of ‘recovery position’ that would be good first aid for my minor mental and emotional wobbles?

There are all kinds of wobbles we might want to be recovering from at work: confidence crises like the one I was having; relationship fallouts; ego-bruisings of all kinds; the shame of having made a truly awesome mistake or two; the crippling fear of something going disastrously wrong.

It feels like a minefield! – maybe that’s enough of a list for now, but let me know if I’ve missed any of the kinds of things we might need to be recovering from.

Two kinds of approaches seem to be good first-aid for those issues: State-changers and Reframes – read on to find out more.

1. State-changers

These are anything that quickly shifts our mind/body-state, and include things such as:

  • Music – always shifts my mood
  • Movement – getting my body a little warm and loosened-up always helps
  • Journalling – getting it down on paper (even if I then tear it up)
  • Getting a change of scenery
  • Talking to a friend
  • Imagery – for example, looking at some inspiring pictures.

I know there’s lots more – what are your own first-aid state-changers?

2. Re-Frames

These are about finding a new and more resourceful way of thinking about or regarding our situation. There’s a couple of different structures you can use to help find reframes, although it’s pretty easy to do anyway. Here’s a summary using my confidence-wobble example, just to show a little about how one of those structures works:

One way to use Reframes as good first aid
Situation“I’ve had a bit of a confidence wobble about some work”
Reframe it by:For example:
Thinking about others“Maybe I can use that experience to help other people in the same situation.”
Thinking about what type of person I am“I am someone who wants to do things well, so this is going to happen from time to time.”
Learning about what I believe is more important than that situation to me“I don’t want this confidence wobble to stop me, because I believe this is important work, it needs to be out there.”
Reflecting on what I’m actually capable of“I’ve got past this point this before, even if it wasn’t straightforward.”
Finding something I can do about it “I can call a friend, ask for help and see if that changes anything.”
Looking to shift something in the where and when“This often happens when I’m tired; I’m going to take a break and try when I’m fresh.”

It’d be great to know about what recovery positions you use when you hit a bit of a wobble at work – what shifts your state, or what reframe usually works for you?

As usual, please leave me a comment if they’re still open below, or tweet me @NickRobCoach.