Saturday, July 27, 2013

Corporate Big Five: From Oxymoron to Clarity

Vision is basically a qualitative statement defining the "perception" of the organization.

In order for Built to Last or Good to Great, forward-thinking organizations do need to spend the significant time on clarifying vision and articulating strategy, how to differentiate the following corporate ‘big five”? How to transform them from oxymoron concept into practical planning as well?

1.    What are Corporate “BIG Five” 

Vision is basically a qualitative statement defining the "perception" of the organization. It’s “WHAT” in the ‘to-be’ state of business.  It is defined as a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination, a manifestation to the senses of something immaterial; the act or power of imagination; mode of seeing or conceiving; unusual discernment or foresight - a vision.

Mission: A mission statement is a brief description of a company's fundamental purpose, succinctly describing why it exists and what it does to achieve its vision. It’s a big "WHY" behind any activities being taken. A mission statement answers the question, "Why do we exist?". The mission statement articulates the company's purpose both for those in the organization and for the public. 

Strategy: A strategy means "the art of the general" (from Greek stratigos). A combination of the ends for which the firm is striving and the means (policies) by which it is seeking to get there. The strategy is the roadmap, mechanics, commitments and precise execution model to achieve the goals. It's the big 'HOW' to fulfill the vision.

Goal: A goal is something that pushes in the direction of the vision. A goal might not be measurable but may be further defined through component objectives.

Objective An objective describes a measurable achievement. Objectives are generally those components of a goal that can be managed and evaluated.

2. Vision vs. Mission 

  • Vision is your future and mission is your present; vision is WHAT and mission is WHY. Vision statements bear you long term goals that you have envisioned for the growth of your business, your reason for existence. Mission statement informs the readers and customers about core values of your firm. Mission statements are like your business priorities, your methods, and values of working that your firm will follow to achieve its objectives. 
  • A Vision is the Noun. A Mission is the Verb. The Vision is the picture. The Mission is the yellow brick road that leads you to the Vision. It's what you have to do to get there. The mission is what you strive to do every day; vision is what you see your company becoming if you stay true to your mission. 
  • A vision is Iinspirational; and mission is motivational; Mission (purpose) is what gets you up every morning to go after that vision. Vision is what you would like to be in long term. Visions are meant to inspire people, and missions are to give them something concrete and motivation to achieve that vision. 

3. Vision vs. Strategy 

  • Vision is WHERE you what to go; while strategy (path) is HOW do you best get there.  A vision (affirmatively worded future) states that an organization desires to achieve; Strategy with Guiding Principles (“words to live by” or what is valued by the organization) is a complex set of related statements used to make choices, motivate the creation of projects, the setting of guidelines,  goals, and the achievement of objectives by employees and partners of an enterprise in support of a business goals. 
  • Vision without Strategy is ‘day-dreaming,’ while Strategy without Vision is blinded. Strategy makes a vision happen. Although there is the danger that strategy is just on paper, it is much closer to being implemented than a vision. Anybody with a dream can draw up a vision. It needs people with the strategic insight into the problem to carve up the vision in actionable steps. But if the strategy has been crafted without clear vision, it may never reach the true destination. 
  • Vision (the WHAT) is more critical than the strategy. but, strategy (the HOW) is ‘harder’ as it requires more effort to define and implement. The true vision is a reflective process of an organization really understanding itself and its purpose, to perceive the future of business; while a strategy is a set of executable actions and commitments toward the goals. 
Therefore, the corporate big five needs to be well defined holistically, as they are correlated and interconnected: Vision, Goals, and objectives - are the end (long term & short term) goal/milestones of an organization. Mission, strategies, and tactics - are the means of achieving the end goals defined in vision/goals/objectives. In the other way, they draw the path through which the organization needs to walk and leap through to reach the vision.


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