Posts

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.


Great One-on-One Meetings for Busy Managers

Leading by Attraction

Sell your vision, not your soul. How leaders can use the power of attraction at work

For clients who want or need to really improve their leadership game, I sometimes work with the approach of two main groups of leadership styles. This is a great way of introducing people to the idea that there is actually more than one way of doing things. You’ll want to have this flexibility in the way that you lead people because it offers so much possibility.

Think of it this way – which of these approaches describes your typical way of leading others?

  1. Are you typically behind people, exhorting, encouraging or even pushing them to do stuff? Or
  2. Are you typically in front of people, enticing, attracting or even pulling them to where they need to be?

Both of these approaches are useful at times. The kind of positional authority that comes with being the boss might tend to make some leaders adopt the first way – the ‘push’ approach to leadership – slightly too much. I want to balance that by exploring one aspect of the other style – the pull style of leadership. In particular, I want to look at the ways you can entice and attract people forwards.

This is the important question to consider about your own leadership – can you attract and entice people into putting their efforts towards a common goal?

When you can do this, as well as ‘push’ people towards things, it just seems to make your working life a little bit sweeter and a little bit easier. The pull approach to leadership can be a welcome change from the ‘selling your soul’ effort of feeling that you always need to be pushing things along!

I’ve just sketched out a few notes here; things to explore and experiment with yourself if you want to try broadening your range of leadership styles in this way.


You want to get a sense that you’re drawing people into a brighter future of some kind. Somewhere either where the current problems that you’re working on together have been solved, or where you’ve created something important together.


You can learn a lot about the ‘pull’ method from great salespeople. The ones who do this well, are the opposite to what you’d describe as a ‘pushy’ salesperson. Here are some of the things to explore that you can learn from really good salespeople:

First, they’ve got the credibility – a track record of doing what they said they would do, of keeping their promises. Leaders might refer to this as walking their talk.

Second, they’ve got a picture of the future – a description of how things will be once that problem has been solved or that achievement has been created. Leaders might call this a vision. Great leaders are really clear about what the core of their vision is, the part that absolutely must happen. Everything else, including the part about exactly how you will get there, is secondary.

Third, they’ve got a way of letting people hear their message. For a salesperson, this is about how they do their promotion, and there are lots of possible channels. For leaders, just what that method is doesn’t really matter, so long as there is a way for people to find out about your vision. Write about it, vlog about it, tour your business, chat about it over coffee whenever possible, put it on a t-shirt, have it tattooed on your forehead – just get the message out.

Those three areas are good places to start your exploration if you’d like to do more enticing and attracting – to be more like a great salesperson in your leadership. And they are really a start; if you were a salesperson, you could think of those three as being like the stuff that would get you in the door. Once you’re in the door, then the real work can start…

Go back to that ‘push’ approach of leadership for a second, just because the contrast will help us to understand the ‘pull’ approach more. A really good push approach to leading others is about making it uncomfortable not to do what is needed. In my jargon, you’ve trying to:

‘Deepen the pain of staying unchanged’

so that other people find it easier to do what you need than to not do it.

And this ‘deepen the pain’ approach is also something that good salespeople do. It’s often the thing that closes a deal, where they’ll ask something like “What will happen if you don’t do something about Problem X?”

In contrast, when you’re doing a ‘pull’ leadership approach, you’re trying to:

‘Feed the desire to reach even higher’

so that other people will be drawn to do what you need them to do, because they want to.

There are three more interesting areas to consider then, if you’d like to get into this pull approach. They’re about using your Vision of the future to appeal to some of the unconscious ways that people respond to their experiences: Logically, Emotionally via their Senses and through Relationships with others.

Logically

Can you set out the Logic of how your Vision makes sense as something that people would naturally want to do? Does it have diagrams and pictures to appeal to people who process logic visually? Can you tell the story of it, so that people who think in words can get on board? Can you do the numbers – do the figures really stack-up, so that people who think in abstract terms will be attracted by it?

Emotionally and Sensually

As my teenager might put it, can you share the ‘feels’?

My coaching friend Andy Denne describes this approach as selling a peach. You can talk about the great smell of a ripe peach, or its sweet juicy taste, or its lovely bright colour. You can even hand out samples, so people can experience for themselves what it’s like to eat a peach. I’m trying to sell you the idea of using metaphor to entice people into your vision. What will it be like for people to put their efforts towards your common goal – what will the sights, sounds and experiences be like?

Relationship

Can you ‘sell’ your vision by building Relationship with the people around you? How well do you know them and what’s important to them? What keeps them awake at night? What do they long for? Can you listen more than you talk, so that you learn and understand people better? Relationships are the platform from which you can adapt, improvise and overcome on the way towards achieving your vision.

“If you want people to build a ship, don’t just drum up people to collect wood, and don’t just assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the sea.”
Antoine de St Exupery


Great One-on-One Meetings for Busy Managers

How to do Inspiring Visions

JFK’s “We Choose to go to the Moon…” Speech

Lots of stuff on tv at the moment about early space exploration, reminded me of this video – one of the most inspiring ‘big vision’ speeches ever. President John F Kennedy speaking at Rice University in September 1962.

Scroll down and play the video to see for yourself.

After the video I’ve put some tips of my own about the kind of things that this sort of ‘vision’ speech needs to include.

Some brief thoughts about the key elements to include in making your own inspiring vision speech:

  • Re-calibrate – not all of us are planning on moon landings, but don’t let that make your vision any less important than this
  • Challenge – notice how President Kennedy makes it clear that there are big obstacles to be overcome. The right amount of challenge is what makes life worth living and work worth doing
  • Sensory Details – you can almost feel what it’d be like to be on that mission, the heat, being cramped in the capsule; really brings it to life
  • Tangible Measures – there’s lots of facts and figures in this vision “240,00 miles away”; “a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall”; I can see and imagine those much more readily because of those numbers
  • Metaphor –  “…fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch”; do you go away knowing exactly how precise he wants you to be and how to explain that to somebody else?
  • “We”“Because that challenge is one we intend to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one we intend to win”; I’m rolling my shirt-sleeves up to get stuck-in right away
  • Present tense – he really switches into the present tense towards the end “Re-entering the atmosphere…”; again this just helps to feel like you’re already there. I can believe this vision because I’ve practically lived it even before he’s finished speaking
  • Upturns Convention“Not because it is easy, but because it is hard”

Great One-on-One Meetings for Busy Managers