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.

Is Your Business Competing?

Where to Start if Your Business is Not Competing Well

Sometimes, the hard truth is that your business might not be competing as well as you want it to and it’s tough to (a) know why that might be and (b) to overcome the emotional barriers to actually do something about that.

Think about a successful small or medium-sized business that you know personally in some way.
I bet you that they’ve got one or other of these approaches to business:

  1. They’re focused, in a way that makes them different. Almost always in one of these ways:
    • they usually only service a fairly specific group of customers or clients (a place, a population segment or a business segment); or
    • they do something pretty unique and which is valued; or
    • they have built an amazingly credible and powerful brand; or
  2. They are the Ryanair of their world. Determinedly no-frills and budget-pricing; or
  3. The costs of running their business are much lower than other people’s in the same industry. They’re probably big enough to have developed economies of scale. They take those reduced costs and they either:
    • re-invest those costs in more advertising; or
    • re-invest those costs in making the product/service more valuable, probably through design or innovation.

If your business isn’t competing as well as you want, does it have one of these approaches? Be honest. The emotional price of dealing with an uncompetitive approach is high, but the cost of dealing with a failing business is higher.