Defining your company's mission, vision and values: a winning strategy!

A key step in corporate marketing, the mission-vision-values triptych is intended for use in the development phase of a company.

As the founding pillars of a business, these a priori questions are necessary to hatch the framework in which the company will flourish. Why does the company exist? How far does it intend to go? What are its DNA values? These are the elements that will enable you to set objectives and determine the actions you need to take to achieve them!

Mission, vision, values: what’s the difference?

It’s not easy to define exactly what each of these terms means. While it’s easy to understand what values mean, it’s harder to distinguish between mission and vision. Yet these are two concepts that should not be confused.

  • Answering the question “Why does the company exist?”, the mission is quite simply the raison d’être of the entrepreneurial project. It corresponds to what the company is currently doing.
  • The company’s vision, on the other hand, calls for a longer-term projection. “How do we see the company in a few years' time? The corporate vision is the goal for the future, a kind of projection into the future.
  • Finally, values are the guiding ideas and beliefs that influence the way the company operates, the strategic decisions of its managers and the behavior of its employees. They can be guessed from the question “What is the common goal behind every action taken by the company?”.

Companies that understand everything!

According to a Roman adage, “without example, nothing can be taught properly”. Good news! All the major companies have undertaken to define their mission, vision and values as part of their development strategy. A good way to illustrate, by example, how to go about defining your own trilogy!

  • Ikea, France’s No. 1 furniture company, has defined its mission as “to offer a wide range of aesthetic and functional home furnishings at prices so affordable that the greatest number of people will be able to buy them”. The company’s vision is “to create a better everyday life for as many people as possible. For our customers, of course, but also for our employees and the people who work for our suppliers”. This is achieved within a framework of strong values such as the importance of working together, cost awareness, the need for renewal, and seeing difference as a strength.
  • Among the web giants, Google has set itself the mission of “organizing information on a global scale to make it accessible and useful to everyone”. Its vision statement is to “provide one-click access to the world’s information”. To achieve this goal, the company has drawn on guiding values such as focusing on the user, preferring speed to slowness, relying on the best sources of information available on the web in real time, and providing access to information from wherever you are.
  • The world’s largest sports equipment manufacturer, Nike “_brings inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world_”, with the statement that “_*if you have a body, you’re an athlete_”! This vision is in line with the company’s commitment to “_do everything possible to develop human potential_”. The company also encourages its employees to respect a code of conduct that embodies the values of community, competitiveness, sustainability and diversity that underpin its business.

Now it’s your turn!

Now it’s time to start writing a mission statement and a vision statement. The exercise may seem daunting, but it’s not impossible, provided you follow a few basic guidelines!

  1. Narrow your focus: before you dive headlong into writing, you need to know what you’re talking about! On the other side of the coin, as far as the mission is concerned, the statement must include what the company proposes to its customers, what problem it addresses, who it is aimed at and why the solution it proposes is the best compared to its competitors. On the vision side, the statement should suggest the company’s ultimate purpose, how it intends to serve people and the planet, and how it will ultimately improve their lives.
  2. Draw up a list of key words: to begin with, it’s important to write down all the vocabulary that absolutely must appear in your mission and vision statements. This list will be an invaluable ally when it comes to finding the right combination of words.
  3. **A sentence is better than a long paragraph! Neither mission nor vision statements are slogans or catchy marketing phrases. They are much more than that, and must reflect the soul of the company.
  4. Allow yourself to make mistakes: no mission or vision statement is born from a first draft. To find the most readable formulation that rings true to the ear, don’t hesitate to write several versions before choosing the one that best suits the company.
  5. Seek different opinions: while a company is often a very personal project, intimately linked to the person who founded it, it also needs to find its place in the world. That’s why mission and vision statements need to be submitted to outside opinions from family, colleagues or (future) customers. In short, pre-validation!

In short, the corporate mission is the founding principle that justifies the company’s existence, and the corporate vision is the main goal that the company must achieve. Between the two, a whole chain of collaborators will work together to respect the company’s values, which must serve as a compass to define their commercial, salary, environmental and managerial practices.

Need help clarifying your corporate strategy? Praditus can help. Experts in the world of soft skills for over 10 years, our team accompanies companies and their employees on the path to sustainable change. With a clear objective: to enable everyone - business units and employees alike - to express their full potential!