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Creating a Strategic Vision for Your Company: Why a Strategic Plan Must Start with Strategic Vision
- September 5, 2018
A Strategic Vision Must Come First
What is strategic vision, strategic vision definition, creating a strategic vision for a company, is organizational development a critical part of your strategic vision if so, the strategic planning consultants at clarity can help.
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Business owners and startup entrepreneurs often spend a great deal of time defining their vision, values, goals, and strategy, but these well-known concepts are commonly muddled.
This Adviso blog gives an example, “A strategic plan is sometimes confused with a list of goals—when in fact, it should be a reflection on what success means for the company or organization, and how they plan to optimize for that success.”
These are all separate and distinct things that, if used correctly, can catapult your business into success. When confused, however, you’re less likely to reap the benefits of each.
Get a better understanding of how your vision, values, goals, and strategy can help you build a strong company and then put each one to use correctly.
1. start with company values.
First and foremost, it’s important to define your company’s core values . This will dictate elements of your branding, marketing, and customer experience. It will also eventually play into your company culture. This starts with asking yourself: why does this company exist? Why do I have this business and what can it provide to the world?
The answers to these questions help you determine your company values, which also dictate how you want your employees to interact with others and how audiences connect with your business. What’s more, your core values will help you make decisions, like hiring or letting people go, while also prioritizing goals and plans for the business.
As you brainstorm your core values, Craig Cincotta, an Entrepreneur contributor, suggests a few common values that all businesses should consider:
- Problem Solver
It’s important to remember that just like your brand slogan and logo , your values generally don’t change. They should become synonymous with your business, to both you, your customers, and your employees.
2. Think Big When Defining Your Vision
Every great business has a vision for the future. But unlike a mission statement , which defines where the company should be successful, your vision represents how you think others will respond or change when they have access to your company’s products, services, and success.
Lindsay Kolowich with HubSpot describes vision, saying: “A vision statement describes where the company aspires to be upon achieving its mission…[and] describes where the company wants a community, or the world, to be as a result of the company's services.”
Your vision doesn’t focus on growth rates or revenue but focuses on the future. It defines what you want to create or achieve as someone providing a valuable service or product. As you define your vision, aim for creating clarity and focus.
It’s tempting to talk in vague terms that are difficult for others to interpret, much less follow. Employees, partners, investors, vendors, customers, and others must be able to grasp your vision for it to work. For example, IKEA’s vision statement is: “Our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people.”
Straight-forward, clear, and concise. Use this as inspiration to define yours.
3. Bring Goals and Strategy Together
Setting goals, and creating a strategy to get there, might be the most challenging step. It’s no secret that people often struggle to achieve their goals, but people and businesses that take a proactive approach to set and following through with their goals are more likely to be successful. According to a study by Dr. Gail Matthews at the Dominican University of California, 70 percent of people who shared their goals and set up regular progress checks were successful compared to 35 percent who kept their goals private.
Here are some examples of goals:
- Bring in $250K revenue in Q1.
- Earn 50 new customers in 2020.
- Drive 50% of leads from Facebook in Q3.
Your goals are your business objectives. So ask yourself: Why do I want to accomplish that? And then, how can I turn that into an actionable and specific goal?
After setting your goals, it’s important to be transparent with your employees about what you hope to achieve, which requires a clear strategy that you and your team will use to reach them. Your strategies aren’t set in stone and may change all the time, in small steps or radical revisions. That’s critical to understand because business conditions, markets, competition, consumer preferences, and a wide range of other factors are constantly in flux. If your strategy remains fixed, your business will struggle to compete.
Remember that creating a sound strategy also means choosing what not to do. You can’t do it all, so you have to use your core values to stay focused on what’s important. Think of your strategy as the roadmap you use to achieve your vision and reach your goals, guided by the GPS of your values.
Use Vision, Values, Goals, and Strategies to Be Successful
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Strategic Vision: Explained with Examples
A strategic vision is an aspirational description of what an organization wants to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term. It serves as a guide for understanding what the organization stands for and where it’s going. It provides a roadmap for the organization’s future within a specific timeframe, offering a clear and motivating picture of the company’s future.
A well-formulated strategic vision can align members of the organization around a common long-term direction, inspire engagement and commitment, and help guide decision-making and resource allocation at various levels of the organization.
Key components of a strategic vision typically include:
- Direction: The vision should indicate where the organization is headed. It can include specific goals or simply point towards a general direction of growth and improvement.
- Aspiration: The vision should be ambitious and aspirational, pushing the organization to strive for excellence and overcome challenges.
- Alignment: The vision should align with the organization’s values, culture, and business strategy. It should feel like a natural extension of what the organization already does and believes in.
- Clarity: The vision should be clear and simple to understand, so everyone in the organization can quickly grasp it and relate it to their own work.
- Inspiration: The vision should inspire and motivate people, encouraging them to invest their best efforts in achieving it.
A strategic vision is an important element of overall strategic management. It encompasses all the activities an organization undertakes to align its resources and actions with its mission, values, and vision.
Strategic Financial Management & Planning | With Examples
How to make a strategic vision?
Creating a strategic vision involves a thoughtful and systematic process. While the specifics can vary depending on the organization and its context, a general approach might include these steps:
- Understand your organization: Begin by examining your organization’s current situation. This includes understanding your mission (what you do and why you do it), your values (the principles that guide your actions), and your strategic goals (what you’re aiming to achieve).
- Assess your environment: Analyze the external environment in which your organization operates. This can include your industry, your competitors, and any technological, economic, social, or political trends that could impact your organization. Tools such as SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) or PESTEL analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legal) can be helpful here.
- Identify key strategic issues: Based on your understanding of your organization and your environment, identify the key issues your strategic vision will need to address. These might include areas where your organization needs to improve, opportunities you want to take advantage of, or challenges you’ll need to overcome.
- Develop your vision: Combine your understanding of your organization, environment, and strategic issues to create a vision for the future. This should be a clear, inspiring statement describing where you want your organization to be. It should be ambitious but realistic and align with your organization’s values and strategic goals.
- Communicate your vision: Once you’ve developed your strategic vision, you must communicate it to the rest of your organization. This could involve presenting it at a company meeting, including it in your internal communications, or incorporating it into your training programs. The key is to ensure that everyone in the organization understands and is aligned with the vision.
- Implement and monitor your vision: Finally, you’ll need to implement your vision by integrating it into your strategic planning and decision-making processes. You’ll also need to monitor your progress towards your vision, adjusting your strategies based on changes in your environment or organization.
Remember that creating a strategic vision is not a one-time activity. As your organization grows and changes and your environment evolves, you may need to revise your vision to ensure it remains relevant and motivating.
Strategic Business Unit in Strategic Management with Example
Types of strategic vision
Strategic visions can take different forms based on their focus and the specific future scenario they portray. Here are some types of strategic visions:
- Quantitative visions: These are visions that focus on achieving certain measurable goals or results. For example, a company might have a vision to increase its market share by a certain percentage or achieve a certain revenue or profitability level.
- Qualitative visions: These are visions that focus on less tangible or measurable aspects, such as improving the company’s reputation, enhancing customer satisfaction, or becoming a leader in innovation. They often focus on the intangible aspects of performance and success.
- Spatial visions: These focus on physical or geographical goals. A company might have the vision to expand its operations to certain locations, to serve a certain geographical market, or to become a global leader in its industry.
- Temporal visions: These visions focus on achieving certain goals within a specific timeframe. For example, a company might aim to become the market leader within five years or to double its size within a decade.
- Values-based visions: These visions are based on the organization’s core values and principles. They focus on how the organization wants to conduct its business and interact with its stakeholders. For instance, a company may envision itself as the most ethical player in the industry or aim to make a significant social impact.
- Scenario-based visions: These are visions that depict a certain future scenario that the organization wants to bring about. For example, a technology company might have a vision of a future where its products are used in every home, or a health organization might envision a world free of a certain disease.
Note that these types aren’t mutually exclusive, and an organization’s strategic vision could combine elements from several of these types. For instance, a company could have a values-based, qualitative vision to be the most respected player in its industry, a scenario-based vision to revolutionize its industry, and a quantitative vision to increase its market share by 20% – all at the same time.
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Examples of strategic vision
Here are some examples of strategic visions from different types of organizations:
- Microsoft: “To help people and businesses worldwide realize their full potential.” This is an example of a qualitative vision, focusing on the impact Microsoft aims to have on individuals and businesses.
- Alibaba: “To make it easy to do business anywhere.” This vision statement is also qualitative, indicating a desire to simplify business operations for everyone, everywhere, signifying a spatial element as well.
- Tesla: “To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.” This is a combination of a scenario-based vision (transitioning the world to electric vehicles) and a temporal vision (being the most compelling car company of the 21st century).
- Amazon: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” This vision is both quantitative (in terms of the range of products offered) and qualitative (customer-centric).
- Google (Alphabet): “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This vision is a combination of qualitative (making information accessible and useful), spatial (the world’s information), and scenario-based elements (organizing information).
- IKEA: “To create a better everyday life for the many people.” This vision is largely qualitative, focusing on improving daily life for their customers.
Each of these vision statements provides a clear sense of where the company aims to go and the impact it aims to have. They are ambitious and forward-looking, providing a clear and motivating future that guides decision-making and strategy within the organization.
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- Section 1. An Overview of Strategic Planning or "VMOSA" (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans)
Chapter 8 Sections
- Section 2. Proclaiming Your Dream: Developing Vision and Mission Statements
- Section 3. Creating Objectives
- Section 4. Developing Successful Strategies: Planning to Win
- Section 5. Developing an Action Plan
- Section 6. Obtaining Feedback from Constituents: What Changes are Important and Feasible?
- Section 7. Identifying Action Steps in Bringing About Community and System Change
- Main Section
VMOSA (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans) is a practical planning process used to help community groups define a vision and develop practical ways to enact change. VMOSA helps your organization set and achieve short term goals while keeping sight of your long term vision. Implementing this planning process into your group's efforts supports developing a clear mission, building consensus, and grounding your group's dreams. This section explores how and when to implement VMOSA into your organization's planning process.
What is VMOSA?
One way to make that journey is through strategic planning, the process by which a group defines its own "VMOSA;" that is, its V ision, M ission, O bjectives, S trategies, and A ction Plans. VMOSA is a practical planning process that can be used by any community organization or initiative. This comprehensive planning tool can help your organization by providing a blueprint for moving from dreams to actions to positive outcomes for your community.
In this section, we will give a general overview of the process, and touch briefly on each of the individual parts. In Examples, we'll show you how an initiative to prevent adolescent pregnancy used the VMOSA process effectively. Then, in Tools, we offer you a possible agenda for a planning retreat, should your organization decide to use this process. Finally, the remaining sections in this chapter will walk you through the steps needed to fully develop each portion of the process.
Why should your organization use VMOSA?
Why should your organization use this planning process? There are many good reasons, including all of the following:
- The VMOSA process grounds your dreams. It makes good ideas possible by laying out what needs to happen in order to achieve your vision.
- By creating this process in a group effort (taking care to involve both people affected by the problem and those with the abilities to change it), it allows your organization to build consensus around your focus and the necessary steps your organization should take.
- The process gives you an opportunity to develop your vision and mission together with those in the community who will be affected by what you do. That means that your work is much more likely to address the community’s real needs and desires, rather than what you think they might be. It also means community ownership of the vision and mission, putting everyone on the same page and greatly increasing the chances that any effort will be successful.
- VMOSA allows your organization to focus on your short-term goals while keeping sight of your long-term vision and mission.
When should you use VMOSA?
So, when should you use this strategic planning process? Of course, it always makes sense for your organization to have the direction and order it gives you, but there are some times it makes particularly good sense to use this process. These times include:
- When you are starting a new organization.
- When your organization is starting a new initiative or large project, or is going to begin work in a new direction.
- When your group is moving into a new phase of an ongoing effort.
- When you are trying to invigorate an older initiative that has lost its focus or momentum.
- When you’re applying for new funding or to a new funder. It’s important under these circumstances to clarify your vision and mission so that any funding you seek supports what your organization actually stands for. Otherwise, you can wind up with strings attached to the money that require you to take a direction not in keeping with your organization’s real purpose or philosophy.
Let's look briefly at each of the individual ingredients important in this process. Then, in the next few sections we'll look at each of these in a more in-depth manner, and explain how to go about developing each step of the planning process.
Vision (the dream)
Your vision communicates what your organization believes are the ideal conditions for your community – how things would look if the issue important to you were perfectly addressed. This utopian dream is generally described by one or more phrases or vision statements, which are brief proclamations that convey the community's dreams for the future. By developing a vision statement, your organization makes the beliefs and governing principles of your organization clear to the greater community (as well as to your own staff, participants, and volunteers).
There are certain characteristics that most vision statements have in common. In general, vision statements should be:
- Understood and shared by members of the community
- Broad enough to encompass a variety of local perspectives
- Inspiring and uplifting to everyone involved in your effort
- Easy to communicate - for example, they should be short enough to fit on a T-shirt
Here are a few vision statements which meet the above criteria:
- Healthy children
- Safe streets, safe neighborhoods
- Every house a home
- Education for all
- Peace on earth
Mission (the what and why)
Developing mission statements are the next step in the action planning process. An organization's mission statement describes what the group is going to do, and why it's going to do that. Mission statements are similar to vision statements, but they're more concrete, and they are definitely more "action-oriented" than vision statements. The mission might refer to a problem, such as an inadequate housing, or a goal, such as providing access to health care for everyone. And, while they don't go into a lot of detail, they start to hint - very broadly - at how your organization might go about fixing the problems it has noted. Some general guiding principles about mission statements are that they are:
- Concise . Although not as short a phrase as a vision statement, a mission statement should still get its point across in one sentence.
- Outcome-oriented . Mission statements explain the overarching outcomes your organization is working to achieve.
- Inclusive . While mission statements do make statements about your group's overarching goals, it's very important that they do so very broadly. Good mission statements are not limiting in the strategies or sectors of the community that may become involved in the project.
The following mission statements are examples that meet the above criteria.
- "To promote child health and development through a comprehensive family and community initiative."
- "To create a thriving African American community through development of jobs, education, housing, and cultural pride.
- "To develop a safe and healthy neighborhood through collaborative planning, community action, and policy advocacy."
While vision and mission statements themselves should be short, it often makes sense for an organization to include its deeply held beliefs or philosophy, which may in fact define both its work and the organization itself. One way to do this without sacrificing the directness of the vision and mission statements is to include guiding principles as an addition to the statements. These can lay out the beliefs of the organization while keeping its vision and mission statements short and to the point.
Objectives (how much of what will be accomplished by when)
Once an organization has developed its mission statement, its next step is to develop the specific objectives that are focused on achieving that mission. Objectives refer to specific measurable results for the initiative's broad goals. An organization's objectives generally lay out how much of what will be accomplished by when. For example, one of several objectives for a community initiative to promote care and caring for older adults might be: "By 2025 (by when), to increase by 20% (how much) those elders reporting that they are in daily contact with someone who cares about them (of what)."
There are three basic types of objectives . They are:
- Behavioral objectives . These objectives look at changing the behaviors of people (what they are doing and saying) and the products (or results) of their behaviors. For example, a neighborhood improvement group might develop an objective around having an increased amount of home repair taking place (the behavior) or of improved housing (the result).
- Community-level outcome objectives . These are related to behavioral outcome objectives, but are more focused more on a community level instead of an individual level. For example, the same group might suggest increasing the percentage of decent affordable housing in the community as a community-level outcome objective.
- Process objectives . These are the objectives that refer to the implementation of activities necessary to achieve other objectives. For example, the group might adopt a comprehensive plan for improving neighborhood housing.
It's important to understand that these different types of objectives aren't mutually exclusive. Most groups will develop objectives in all three categories. Examples of objectives include:
- By December 2030, to increase by 30% parent engagement (i.e., talking, playing, reading) with children under 2 years of age. ( Behavioral objective )
- By 2025, to have made a 40% increase in youth graduating from high school. ( Community -level outcome objective )
- By the year 2026, increase by 30% the percentage of families that own their home. ( Community-level outcome objective )
- By December of this year, implement the volunteer training program for all volunteers. ( Process objective )
Strategies (the how)
The next step in the process of VMOSA is developing your strategies. Strategies explain how the initiative will reach its objectives. Generally, organizations will have a wide variety of strategies that include people from all of the different parts, or sectors, of the community. These strategies range from the very broad, which encompass people and resources from many different parts of the community, to the very specific, which aim at carefully defined areas.
Examples of broad strategies include:
- A child health program might use social marketing to promote adult involvement with children
- An adolescent pregnancy initiative might decide to increase access to contraceptives in the community
- An urban revitalization project might enhance the artistic life of the community by encouraging artists to perform in the area
Five types of specific strategies can help guide most interventions . They are:
- Providing information and enhancing skills (e.g., offer skills training in conflict management)
- Enhancing services and support (e.g., start a mentoring programs for high-risk youth)
- Modify access, barriers, and opportunities (such as offering scholarships to students who would be otherwise unable to attend college)
- Change the consequences of efforts (e.g., provide incentives for community members to volunteer)
- Modify policies (e.g., change business policies to allow parents and guardians and volunteers to spend more time with young children)
Action plan (what change will happen; who will do what by when to make it happen)
Finally, an organization's action plan describes in great detail exactly how strategies will be implemented to accomplish the objectives developed earlier in this process. The plan refers to: a) specific (community and systems) changes to be sought, and b) the specific action steps necessary to bring about changes in all of the relevant sectors, or parts, of the community.
The key aspects of the intervention or (community and systems) changes to be sought are outlined in the action plan. For example, in a program whose mission is to increase youth interest in politics, one of the strategies might be to teach students about the electoral system. Some of the action steps, then, might be to develop age-appropriate materials for students, to hold mock elections for candidates in local schools, and to include some teaching time in the curriculum.
Action steps are developed for each component of the intervention or (community and systems) changes to be sought. These include:
- Action step(s): What will happen
- Person(s) responsible: Who will do what
- Date to be completed: Timing of each action step
- Resources required: Resources and support (both what is needed and what's available )
- Barriers or resistance, and a plan to overcome them!
- Collaborators: Who else should know about this action
Here are two examples of action steps, graphed out so you can easily follow the flow:
Of course, once you have finished designing the strategic plan or "VMOSA" for your organization, you are just beginning in this work. Your action plan will need to be tried and tested and revised, then tried and tested and revised again. You'll need to obtain feedback from community members, and add and subtract elements of your plan based on that feedback.
Everyone has a dream. But the most successful individuals - and community organizations - take that dream and find a way to make it happen. VMOSA helps groups do just that. This strategic planning process helps community groups define their dream, set their goals, define ways to meet those goals, and finally, develop practical ways bring about needed changes.
In this section, you've gained a general understanding of the strategic planning process. If you believe your organization might benefit from using this process, we invite you to move on to the next sections of this chapter, which explain in some depth how to design and develop your own strategic plan.
Concerns Report Handbook: Planning for Community Health
The Free Management Library presents a thorough guide to strategic and action planning, plus links to online discussion groups.
Imagining Our Dream Community provides guidance for visualizing your organization's ideal community.
Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives
Preventing Adolescent Substance Abuse: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives
Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives
Preventing Youth Violence: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives
Promoting Child Well-Being: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives
Promoting Health for All: Improving Access and Eliminating Disparities in Community Health
Promoting Healthy Living and Preventing Chronic Disease: An Action Planning Guide for Communities
Promoting Urban Neighborhood Development: An Action Planning Guide for Improving Housing, Jobs, Education, Safety and Health
Reducing Risk for Chronic Disease: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives
The Ruckus Society offers an Action Planning Manual that discusses strategies for nonviolent direct action.
Strategice Plan information page from Implementation Matters.
The Strategic Planning Process outlines 8 steps to developing a customized strategic plan for a coalition.
Work Group Evaluation Handbook
Your Action Planning Guide for Promoting Full Community Participation Among People with Disabilities , a resource for independent living centers and other community-based initiatives, from the KU Research & Training Center on Independent Living and the KU Center for Community Health and Development.
Youth Development: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives
Barry, B. (1982). Strategic planning workbook for non-profit organizations . St. Paul, MN: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation.
Bryson, J. (1988). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Coover, V., et al. (1985). Resource manual for a living revolution: a handbook of skills & tools for social change activists . Philadelphia: New Society Publisher.
Fawcett, S., Paine, A., Francisco, V., Richter, K.., Lewis, R., Williams, E., Harris, K., Winter-Green, K., in collaboration with Bradley, B. & Copple, J. (1992). Preventing adolescent substance abuse: an action planning guide for community -based initiatives . Lawrence, KS: Work Group on Health Promotion and Community Development, University of Kansas.
Fawcett, S., Schultz, J., Francisco, V., Cyprus, J., Collie, V., Carson, V., & Bremby, R. (2001). Promoting urban neighborhood development: An action planning guide for improving housing, jobs, education, safety and health, and human development . Lawrence, KS: Work Group on Health Promotion and Community Development.
Halfon, N., Inkelas, M., Rice, T., Sutherland, C., Tullis, E., & Uyeda, K. (2004). Building State Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems. Volume 6: A Strategic Planning Guide for State-Level Early Childhood Systems-Building Initiatives: From Resources to Results for Young Children and Their Families. Los Angeles: UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities.
Kansas Health Foundation. VMOSA: An approach to strategic planning . Wichita, KS: Kansas Health Foundation.
Lord, R. (1989). T he non-profit problem solver: a management guide . New York, NY: Praeger Publishers.
Murray, E., & Richardson, P. (2002). Fast Forward: Organizational Changes in 100 Days . New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Olenick, J., & Olenick, R. (1991). A non-profit organization operating manual: planning for survival and growth . New York, NY: Foundation Center.
Stonich, P. J. (1982). Implementing strategy: making strategy happen . Cambridge: Ballinger Publishing Company.
Unterman, I., & Davis, R. (1984). Strategic management of not-for-profit organizations . New York, NY: CBS Educational and Professional Publishing.
Watson-Thompson, J., Fawcett, S.B., & Schultz, J. (2008). Differential effects of strategic planning on community change in two urban neighborhood coalitions . American Journal of Community Psychology, 42, 25-38.
Wolff, T. (1990). Managing a non-profit organization . New York, NY: Prentice Hall Press.
Wolff, T. (2010). The Power of Collaborative Solutions: Six Principles and Effective Tools for Building Healthy Communities . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
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4.3 The Roles of Mission, Vision, and Values
- Be able to define mission and vision.
- See how values are important for mission and vision.
- Understand the roles of vision, mission, and values in the P-O-L-C framework.
Mission, Vision, and Values
Mission and vision both relate to an organization’s purpose and are typically communicated in some written form. Mission and vision are statements from the organization that answer questions about who we are, what do we value, and where we’re going. A study by the consulting firm Bain and Company reports that 90% of the 500 firms surveyed issue some form of mission and vision statements (Bart & Baetz, 1998). Moreover, firms with clearly communicated, widely understood, and collectively shared mission and vision have been shown to perform better than those without them, with the caveat that they related to effectiveness only when strategy and goals and objectives were aligned with them as well (Bart, et. al., 2001).
A mission statement communicates the organization’s reason for being, and how it aims to serve its key stakeholders. Customers, employees, and investors are the stakeholders most often emphasized, but other stakeholders like government or communities (i.e., in the form of social or environmental impact) can also be discussed. Mission statements are often longer than vision statements. Sometimes mission statements also include a summation of the firm’s values. Values are the beliefs of an individual or group, and in this case the organization, in which they are emotionally invested. The Starbucks mission statement describes six guiding principles that, as you can see, also communicate the organization’s values:
- Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity .
- Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business .
- Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting and fresh delivery of our coffee.
- Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time .
- Contribute positively to our communities and our environment .
- Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success (Starbucks, 2008).
Similarly, Toyota declares its global corporate principles to be:
- Honor the language and spirit of the law of every nation and undertake open and fair corporate activities to be a good corporate citizen of the world .
- Respect the culture and customs of every nation and contribute to economic and social development through corporate activities in the communities .
- Dedicate ourselves to providing clean and safe products and to enhancing the quality of life everywhere through all our activities .
- Create and develop advanced technologies and provide outstanding products and services that fulfill the needs of customers worldwide .
- Foster a corporate culture that enhances individual creativity and teamwork value, while honoring mutual trust and respect between labor and management .
- Pursue growth in harmony with the global community through innovative management .
- Work with business partners in research and creation to achieve stable, long-term growth and mutual benefits, while keeping ourselves open to new partnerships (Toyota, 2008).
A vision statement , in contrast, is a future-oriented declaration of the organization’s purpose and aspirations. In many ways, you can say that the mission statement lays out the organization’s “purpose for being,” and the vision statement then says, “based on that purpose, this is what we want to become.” The strategy should flow directly from the vision, since the strategy is intended to achieve the vision and thus satisfy the organization’s mission. Typically, vision statements are relatively brief, as in the case of Starbuck’s vision statement, which reads: “Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles as we grow (Starbucks, 2008).” Or ad firm Ogilvy & Mather, which states their vision as “an agency defined by its devotion to brands (Ogilvy, 2008).” Sometimes the vision statement is also captured in a short tag line, such as Toyota’s “moving forward” statement that appears in most communications to customers, suppliers, and employees (Toyota, 2008). Similarly, Wal-Mart’s tag-line version of its vision statement is “Save money. Live better (Walmart, 2008).”
Any casual tour of business or organization Web sites will expose you to the range of forms that mission and vision statements can take. To reiterate, mission statements are longer than vision statements, often because they convey the organizations core values. Mission statements answer the questions of “Who are we?” and “What does our organization value?” Vision statements typically take the form of relatively brief, future-oriented statements—vision statements answer the question “Where is this organization going?” Increasingly, organizations also add a values statement which either reaffirms or states outright the organization’s values that might not be evident in the mission or vision statements.
Roles Played by Mission and Vision
Mission and vision statements play three critical roles: (1) communicate the purpose of the organization to stakeholders, (2) inform strategy development, and (3) develop the measurable goals and objectives by which to gauge the success of the organization’s strategy. These interdependent, cascading roles, and the relationships among them, are summarized in the figure.
Figure 4.5 Key Roles of Mission and Vision
First, mission and vision provide a vehicle for communicating an organization’s purpose and values to all key stakeholders. Stakeholders are those key parties who have some influence over the organization or stake in its future. You will learn more about stakeholders and stakeholder analysis later in this chapter; however, for now, suffice it to say that some key stakeholders are employees, customers, investors, suppliers, and institutions such as governments. Typically, these statements would be widely circulated and discussed often so that their meaning is widely understood, shared, and internalized. The better employees understand an organization’s purpose, through its mission and vision, the better able they will be to understand the strategy and its implementation.
Second, mission and vision create a target for strategy development. That is, one criterion of a good strategy is how well it helps the firm achieve its mission and vision. To better understand the relationship among mission, vision, and strategy, it is sometimes helpful to visualize them collectively as a funnel. At the broadest part of the funnel, you find the inputs into the mission statement. Toward the narrower part of the funnel, you find the vision statement, which has distilled down the mission in a way that it can guide the development of the strategy. In the narrowest part of the funnel you find the strategy —it is clear and explicit about what the firm will do, and not do, to achieve the vision. Vision statements also provide a bridge between the mission and the strategy. In that sense the best vision statements create a tension and restlessness with regard to the status quo—that is, they should foster a spirit of continuous innovation and improvement. For instance, in the case of Toyota, its “moving forward” vision urges managers to find newer and more environmentally friendly ways of delighting the purchaser of their cars. London Business School professors Gary Hamel and C. K. Prahalad describe this tense relationship between vision and strategy as stretch and ambition. Indeed, in a study of such able competitors as CNN, British Airways, and Sony, they found that these firms displaced competitors with stronger reputations and deeper pockets through their ambition to stretch their organizations in more innovative ways (Hamel & Prahalad, 1993).
Third, mission and vision provide a high-level guide, and the strategy provides a specific guide, to the goals and objectives showing success or failure of the strategy and satisfaction of the larger set of objectives stated in the mission. In the cases of both Starbucks and Toyota, you would expect to see profitability goals, in addition to metrics on customer and employee satisfaction, and social and environmental responsibility.
Mission and vision both relate to an organization’s purpose and aspirations, and are typically communicated in some form of brief written statements. A mission statement communicates the organization’s reason for being and how it aspires to serve its key stakeholders. The vision statement is a narrower, future-oriented declaration of the organization’s purpose and aspirations. Together, mission and vision guide strategy development, help communicate the organization’s purpose to stakeholders, and inform the goals and objectives set to determine whether the strategy is on track.
- What is a mission statement?
- What is a vision statement?
- How are values important to the content of mission and vision statements?
- Where does the purpose of mission and vision overlap?
- How do mission and vision relate to a firm’s strategy?
- Why are mission and vision important for organizational goals and objectives?
Bart, C. K., & Baetz, M. C. (1998). The relationship between mission statements and firm performance: An exploratory study. Journal of Management Studies, 35 , 823–853.
Bart, C. K., Bontis, N., & Taggar, S. (2001). A model of the impact of mission statements on firm performance. Management Decision, 39 (1), 19–35.
Hamel, G., & Prahalad, C. K. (1993, March–April). Strategy as stretch and leverage . Harvard Business Review , 75–84.
Ogilvy, Retrieved October 27, 2008, from http://www.ogilvy.com/o_mather .
Starbucks, retrieved October 27, 2008, from http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus
Toyota, retrieved October 27, 2008, from http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/vision/philosophy .
Toyota, retrieved October 27, 2008, from http://www.toyota.com/about/our_values/index.html .
Walmart, retrieved October 27, 2008, from http://www.walmart.com .
Principles of Management Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
College of Arts and Sciences
- Strategic Plan, COAS 2021-26
Vision and Mission Statements
Vision statement, boise state vision statement.
To be a premier student-success driven research university innovating for statewide and global impact. The trailblazing, innovative character that has always defined Boise State will help us foster student success, advance Idaho and Idahoans, and strengthen our culture of innovation and impact.
To be a nationally recognized leader in future-facing liberal arts education and transdisciplinary research. We unite tradition with innovation as we foster student success across the academic journey and enrich communities local and global through our transformative research and creative activity.
Boise state mission statement.
Boise State provides an innovative, transformative, and equitable educational environment that prepares students for success and advances Idaho and the world.
Current COAS Mission Statement
The mission of the College of Arts and Sciences is to enhance the scientific, ethical and cultural foundation of society through education, research, creative activity and community engagement, thereby improving our individual and collective quality of life. Our faculty, staff and students discover and share knowledge, understand and appreciate diversity, create and analyze art, and engage and enrich our local and global communities.
Building for the Future Draft 1.0
The College of Arts and Sciences fortifies the scientific, ethical and cultural foundation of the university and society through education, research, creative activity and community engagement. Our faculty, staff and students discover and share knowledge; understand and appreciate diverse perspectives; create and analyze art; and engage and enrich our local and global communities.
Building for the Future Draft 1.1
[Note: This draft is meant to echo Blueprint for Success.]
Boise State’s College of Arts and Sciences harnesses the power of tradition to drive transformation for the benefit of our students and our communities. Our teaching, research and creative activity, and service make a meaningful, sustainable difference in Idaho, and throughout the world.
The Purpose of Mission and Vision Statements in Strategic Planning
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How to Celebrate Successes in the Workplace
The role of ethics & responsibilities in leading innovation & change, the differences between vision and mission objectives.
- How to Create Organizational Values Statements
- Steps of Transformational Leadership
Businesses often make or rewrite their strategic plans when the organizational structure is changing, or as a way to respond to changing market conditions. Change can be a difficult process and employees sometimes require time to get on on board with the decision-making process. One tool that can help is the clear articulation of the company's mission and vision statement. Articulating and repeating the positives of the move toward change in the organization will help employees stay engaged and motivated in the process.
What is Strategic Planning?
Change is an essential component of strategic planning. This involves moving the organization or program forward to create or change something. Some plans are created out of the need for the organization to move in a certain direction, and other plans develop organically. Mission and vision statements will be important to help communicate the goals of the plan to employees and the public.
Role of the Mission Statement
Leaders should emphasize the current mission statement to employees , which clarifies the purpose and primary, measurable objectives of the organization. A mission statement is meant for employees and leaders of the organization. Strategic plans may involve changing the mission statement to reflect a new direction of the organization. Highlighting the benefits of the change and minimizing the deficits will help employees and the public buy into the change.
Another way to look at it is that mission statements describe the company's mission as it is now and for the near future. So if the company is undergoing major changes, it would make sense to revise the mission statement so it is current.
Role of the Vision Statement
Like mission statements, vision statements help to describe the organization's purpose. Vision statements give direction for employee behavior and help provide inspiration. Strategic plans may require a marketing strategy, which could include the vision statement to also help inspire consumers to work with the organization.
A vision statement is a view into the future with hope and a positive outlook. It describes a company's inspirational, long-term plan for what they'll be able to accomplish, who they will help, and how the company will then be perceived. It's often out of reach for now, but not so far out of reach as to be unattainable. The vision statement gives everyone a description of what they're working towards.
Purposes of Strategic Planning
Strategic planning will likely have its successes and failures. Leaders should celebrate the little successes toward meeting objectives, which are part of the mission and vision statement. The mission statement will help measure whether the strategic plan aligns with the overall goals of the agency. The vision statement helps to provide inspiration to employees. Employees who feel invested in the organizational change are more likely to stay motivated and have higher levels of productivity.
Encouraging Continued Engagement
A successful change will involve communicating and repeating mission and vision statements, which helps prevent people from becoming discouraged in the event of small failures along the way. Leaders should continue to highlight the strengths of the strategic plan and involve important stakeholders in the process. Engaging employees and volunteers will help them to recognize and take ownership of the change. Involving employees also helps to provide more minds to prevent possible problems.
Examples to Consider
Many companies have vision and mission statements that don't serve them well. Still, there are companies with outstanding statements. LinkedIn is a good example :
- Vision: To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
- Mission: To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
Notice how LinkedIn's vision statement refers to "every member of the global workforce." That's a huge goal that won't be accomplished in the near future. Maybe never. But it is inspiring and makes employees want to achieve it.
The mission statement, on the other hand, is achievable. By connecting professionals, they give them the contacts they need to make them more productive and successful.
Now consider the example of Southwest airlines :
- Vision: To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.
- Mission: The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.
There's no question Southwest's vision statement is for the future. Many people currently love Southwest, but everyone in the world? Hardly. Will they ever be "most loved, most flown, and most profitable"? That's a lot to ask of any business. But by striving for all three, they're encouraging employees to be at their best
Southwest's mission statement is much more down-to-earth, current and achievable. Their employees have the choice to dedicate themselves to having the highest quality service, to be warm and friendly, proud and filled with company spirit.
- Mind Tools: Mission Statements and Vision Statements
- Inc.: 6 Principles for Communicating a Powerful Change Vision
- Entrepreneur: 4 Techniques for Crafting a Mission Statement Worth Remembering
- ClearVoice: Difference Between Vision and Mission Statements: 25 Examples
Madison Hawthorne holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing, a master's degree in social work and a master's degree in elementary education. She also holds a reading endorsement and two years experience working with ELD students. She has been a writer for more than five years, served as a magazine submission reviewer and secured funding for a federal grant for a nonprofit organization. Hawthorne also swam competitively for 10 years and taught for two years.
Characteristics of change management, what is the use of a mission statement, what skills should a strategic leader have to achieve ambitions, keys to fundraising success, critical success factors for learning organizations, examples of leaders who motivate in the workplace, objectives of employee welfare, how to address the new year to employees, examples of leading change management, most popular.
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How to Do Strategic Planning Like a Futurist
You don’t need a time line; you need a time cone.
Chief strategy officers and those responsible for shaping the direction of their organizations are often asked to facilitate “visioning” meetings. This helps teams brainstorm ideas, but it isn’t a substitute for critical thinking about the future. Neither are the one-, three-, or five-year strategic plans that have become a staple within most organizations, though they are useful for addressing short-term operational goals. Futurists think about time differently, and company strategists could learn from their approach. For any given uncertainty about the future — whether that’s risk, opportunity, or growth — we tend to think in the short- and long-term simultaneously. To do this, consider using a framework that doesn’t rely on linear timelines or simply mark the passage of time as quarters or years. Instead, use a time cone that measures certainty and charts actions.
I recently helped a large industrial manufacturing company with its strategic planning process. With so much uncertainty surrounding autonomous vehicles, 5G, robotics, global trade, and the oil markets, the company’s senior leaders needed a set of guiding objectives and strategies linking the company’s future to the present day. Before our work began in earnest, executives had already decided on a title for the initiative: Strategy 2030.
- Amy Webb is a quantitative futurist, CEO of Future Today Institute, and professor of strategic foresight at the New York University Stern School of Business. She is the author of The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream , The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity , and The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology .
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Boynton Beach city mayor pushing for economic priorities in strategic plan
Posted: October 30, 2023 | Last updated: October 30, 2023
City leaders in Boynton Beach are laying out the future of the city as they work on a new strategic plan for the coming year.
Mayor Ty Penserga said some of his priorities include cleanliness, strategic branding, public relations and safety.
He proud to announce the police department is now fully staffed.
Penserga said he is excited to share his vision for the city but said before they can do anything they have to make the city economically vibrant.
"If you want to change people's lives' it's really hard to think about all of these," Penserga said. "When people are struggling about housing and food and transportation."
Your neighborhood: Local coverage from WPBF 25 News
Local business owner Curreen Ellis says her salon business is growing and as city leaders discuss their priorities during their workshop sessions, she hopes growth is also addressed.
"For me as a small business owner my main concern is to be able to establish myself in a way that I can grow and grow with the city," Ellis said. "And provide the service that the people will need in the area."
Resident Christie Baye moved to the city about three years ago. Baye said she loves being lose to the ocean, intracoastal and with her family.
"I'd like to see more restaurants places to sit outside and enjoy and maybe some development along the beach area," Baye.
The city will present its vision during strategic planning sessions.
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How the Vision and Mission Drive Strategic Planning
by Funding For Good | Jan 25, 2022 | Strategic Planning
Those two words describe what happens when leaders lose focus and allow the organization to move away from its intended purpose. Mission drift, also called “mission creep,” is like an ocean’s undercurrent that shifts, pushes, and moves people away from their base without them noticing.
Savvy swimmers at the beach stop and evaluate their surroundings, then determine if they want to head back towards their original starting point or go a different direction. In the nonprofit world, it is the role of the board of directors to stop, evaluate, and ensure that the organization remains true to the approved vision and mission .
Vision and mission statements reflect the organization’s core identity and drive strategic planning success in the following two ways:
An organization’s vision and mission statements are more than “just catchphrases” for marketing. Approved vision and mission statements ensure leadership has established “unity and direction.” These two statements are essential to providing context for all goal-setting and action planning.
2. Achieving strategic plan goals requires community support. It is easier to excite and engage community members using core messaging that is current and relevant. Donors want to fund an organization’s impact, not its existence. For this reason, steller messaging and a detailed strategic plan are the most impactful resources in a fundraisers toolkit.
“Strategic planning,” at the most fundamental level, implies that leadership is committed to intentional actions to overcome obstacles and increase impact.
At Funding For Good, we recommend organizations begin the strategic planning process with a “visioning session” that engages leadership at board and staff levels. The session should include an intentional process to create, review, or modify vision and mission statements.
The visioning process ensures leaders fulfill their duties to:
- Agree on the future impact the organization strives to achieve. (Aka: the VISION)
- Clarify what the organization does in the present (Aka: the MISSION)
- Review core statements to determine if they are current and relevant
- Modify existing statements or craft new statements if needed
- Approve statements that best define the organization’s purpose and scope.
Acknowledge current realities and needs of the community that the organization was founded to serve.
A well-crafted vision and mission statement are essential for internal and external growth. Unified leadership within the organization is easier to achieve when each component of an organization’s strategic plan (goals, strategies, actions) aligns with the organization’s approved vision and mission. At the community level, a nonprofit’s message is everything. What one says and how one says it can either open doors or burn bridges, so it is crucial to get it right.
The best vision and mission statements resonate with the average community member, inspire them to learn more, and motivate them to act.
The vision and mission statements provide a foundation for all work and words the organization will build upon in the coming years. A nonprofit’s clients, staff, board, and volunteers are ambassadors for the organization. One of the most effective “tools’ you can equip them with is a simple yet powerful message they can share on your behalf- a stellar vision and mission statement!
So how do you know if your vision and mission statement is stellar or if it is time to review and revise it?
Here are a few tips for determining if your vision and mission statement need a facelift.
1. Can your board and staff members quote both statements verbatim by memory?
- If they cannot do it, it is time to ask, “why not?” Is either statement too long or complicated?
2, Do your board and staff members always “rephrase” the vision/mission statements?
- If the answer is yes, ask them, “why?” Are the current vision/mission statements ‘too formal, outdated, unclear, or lackluster’?
3. If a stranger asks you why your organization exists, could you respond using only your vision statement as written?
- If the answer is no, is it because the statement is worded so that it only resonates with one specific sector of the community? Does it fail to inspire a stranger to engage in your cause?
4. If a stranger asks what your organization does, could you respond using only your mission statement? If not, is your statement too restrictive or too detailed? What information is missing or misleading?
5. If you share your vision/mission statement with a stranger, does it inspire them to say, “Wow… tell me more!” or do they look confused and ask, “Ok… but what exactly do you mean?”
If responses to the “quiz” above reveal that your current vision and mission statements are not as impactful as you would like, it might be time to schedule a visioning session.
Funding for Good encourages nonprofits to use a messaging criterion we call the “Three C’s.”
All messaging should be CLEAR, CONCISE, and COMPELLING.
Before you can craft vision and mission statements that are clear, concise, and compelling, it is crucial to understand the difference between them.
Vision statements should INSPIRE, while mission statements should INFORM.
Vision statements describe where we are going, while mission statements explain how we will get there.
In other words, the vision statement allows you to share the IMPACT your organization creates while the mission emphasizes the “TASKS” your organization completes.
Tips for crafting stellar vision and mission statements :
- Limit each statement to 35 words or less.
- Remember the “Three C’s.”
- Make it “T-shirt worthy.” If each statement fits on a t-shirt and makes a powerful statement, people are more likely to remember and share it!
- Craft a message that resonates with your neighbors, not just donors or a small sector of the community
- Use the attributes listed in the chart below to distinguish your vision from your mission statement.
Finally, before your nonprofit begins the crafting process, challenge leadership to complete this simple investigative homework assignment. Ask each board member to complete an internet search to explore “the best/most impactful vision or mission statements.” Encourage them to examine for-profit and nonprofit organizations’ vision and mission statements. They should then select two samples that resonate with them and evaluate what about the content/grammar was impactful.
This simple “prep work” can get the creative juices flowing while reminding board members that short and simple messaging is the most effective approach.
Before the board approves new vision and mission statements, consider taking the top two or three options for a test drive! Request feedback from clients, stakeholders, or strangers to determine which “message” resonates most with your community.
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- How to write a vision statement: Steps ...
How to write a vision statement: Steps and examples
The vision statement is designed to inspire employees, compel investors, and engage the imaginations of your customers. It paints a picture of your company's future and the impact you want your business to have on the world.
It takes work and creativity to write an inspiring vision statement. Here, we'll break down the elements of a great vision statement, guide you through the process, and walk through a few examples of excellent vision statements and explain what makes them great.
What is a vision statement?
A vision statement is your company’s guiding beacon. It zooms out to give perspective on the overarching reasons for your company's mission. Rather than articulating the specifics of your business operations, the vision statement describes how your company seeks to impact and improve the world around it.
Vision statement vs. mission statement
While both statements help define your company's character and personality, there are some key differences between a vision statement and a mission statement.
The mission statement describes what your company does in the present. It's comprised of three parts: what you do, how you do it, and why you do it.
A vision statement outlines the company's long-term goals and aspirations for the future in terms of its long-term growth and impact on the world. Your mission defines what your organization does and what you stand for, while your vision statement speaks to your goals and ideals for the future.
Characteristics of a great vision statement
Vision statements are like snowflakes—each one is unique to its company in length, form, structure, and scope. Your vision statement should reflect your company's personality. However, there are a few traits that all great vision statements share. No matter how unique a statement is in terms of size, shape, or structure, a good vision statement should be:
The purpose of a vision statement is to inspire employees, investors, and customers to believe in your company's mission. Great vision statements are aspirational and ambitious. They convey a sense of passion for the ideal future toward which the company is working.
Though your vision needs to be ambitious in order to be inspiring, it shouldn't be so far out of reach that it feels impossible. You want to choose something that your company will have to strive for, but a completely unattainable goal isn't a vision—it's a fantasy.
A vision statement connects your company mission to your goals, but it isn’t a goal in and of itself. If your vision statement feels too finite or specifically achievable, try to zoom out and broaden the scope of your vision.
Don’t try to cram every detail of your vision into your vision statement—be strategic in selecting the ideas that feel the most relevant and compelling to your stakeholders . You might dream of someday having offices in every major city in the world, but your vision statement should focus on aspirations that speak to your company's mission and purpose.
Vision statement writing tips
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind as you start writing your vision statement:
Collaborate. The vision statement should reflect the character of your entire company, and there's no better way to accomplish this than to write the statement alongside key members of your team. Gather leaders from across the organization to participate in vision statement brainstorms, and run drafts by these same people to get buy-in on your final vision statement.
Write first, edit later. Don't try to write a succinct, well-crafted vision statement right out of the gate. Put everything you think of down on paper, no matter how small. You may not see the value in a particular idea when it crosses your mind, but if you write it down anyway, it may spark better ideas later on.
Keep your own vision statement separate. Many people have personal vision statements that reflect their individual goals, and if you're a business owner, our own vision statement may overlap strongly with the vision of your company. It's important to keep your personal aspirations and your company's vision separate, so that your company's vision statement is something that your entire company can relate to and feel represented by.
Avoid buzzwords and jargon. Using "industry-speak" makes a brand feel aloof and inaccessible, even to people within the industry. Plain language is always more powerful than jargon, so if you find yourself falling back on buzzwords, isolate the phrase in question and picture a friend or family member asking, "What does this actually mean?" Write or record the explanation you would give to that person and use that language to replace the buzzwords in your vision statement.
Avoid ambiguity. Vision statements don't have to be concrete the way a mission statement should be, but you want to avoid using words that could potentially be interpreted in a way that changes the entire vision statement's meaning. You won't be there to clarify or offer context to everyone who reads your statement, so it needs to be able to stand on its own.
7 steps to write your company's vision statement
There's a lot more to crafting a great vision statement than just writing a few sentences. In order to create a statement that's truly aspirational and inspiring, you're going to need to do a little bit of work. Here's our seven-step process to write a great vision statement:
1. Identify important stakeholders
Your vision statement speaks on behalf of your entire company, so make a list of co-founders, fellow executives, and high-level employees who can help you craft and refine your statement so that it represents your organization as a whole. Getting buy-in from company leaders is also a smart strategic move—the more they believe in the vision statement, the better they'll model it in their daily work and communicate it to their own departments and teams.
Make a second list of stakeholders that represent your vision statement's audience. This list may consist of personas rather than actual people, and should include:
Different customer personas
Depending on your industry, this list may be longer or shorter; the main point is to write down a basic overview of the group of people you're writing for. If you're only thinking about your customers, your vision statement may not feel as relatable to employees or might not inspire potential funders to invest. Check your drafts against this list to make sure it feels applicable to all of your key stakeholders.
2. Start with a list of keywords
Ultimately, you're aiming to craft a few concise sentences—and the process of crafting those sentences will be a lot easier if you have a "word bank" of sorts to draw from as you write. Hold an open brainstorming session with your internal stakeholders to come up with a keyword list.
Make sure your keyword list is comprehensive by subdividing it into smaller categories and making sure you have a good list of keywords for each. At a minimum, you should collect keywords related to:
Your product or service
Your mission and values
Your company's goals and initiatives
Your company's long-term strategic plan
Adjectives that describe your company, product, teams, community, and ideal future (e.g. expert, innovative, affordable, inspiring)
Adverbs that describe the way in which your company operates (e.g. flexibly, sustainably, cooperatively, fearlessly)
Just like your list of stakeholders, the number and type of keyword lists you should generate will vary depending on your industry and company. The important thing is to create a document filled with keywords that you can draw from as your writing, if you get stuck trying to communicate an idea, or if you need to replace some jargon-y text.
3. Answer foundational company questions
In addition to your keywords document, take time during your brainstorm to answer the following questions:
What is our organization’s main purpose?
What are our company’s main strengths?
What are our company values?
Why does what we’re building matter?
How do we want to make a difference as a company?
What is our vision for our company culture ?
What are our most ambitious goals?
What impact do we want our company to have on the world?
What are our company wants? What about company needs?
If our company succeeded in everything it set out to do, how would the world be different?
4. Sort your answers by importance
By the time you're finished brainstorming, you should have a lot of stuff written down.Put all of this content aside for a few days, so that your mind is clear when you return for the next step: deciding what goes in your vision statement and what gets left on the cutting room floor.
Sit down with your vision statement tiger team and a highlighter and review everything you have written down. Highlight ideas and phrases that your group feels are the most important to your company, and cross out items that you're ready to eliminate from consideration (however, don't throw this content out entirely—everything you brainstormed can be helpful in creating other important documents, like your core values, roadmap, or business plan).
5. Write your company's vision out longform
At the end of step four, you'll have a smaller "word bank" of your most important phrases, ideas, keywords, and answers to foundational company questions. Your next step will be to organize these ideas into sentences that flow logically and are ordered according to your company's priorities.
Right now, don't worry about length—focus instead on communicating your vision in a way that makes sense, touches all of the key points you want to include, and feels relatable to your stakeholders and your audience. It's much easier to edit a long but comprehensive statement than it is to bulk up a statement that's missing pieces.
6. Step back and evaluate
Before you go through the work of editing your vision down to size, take a step back and look at your vision paragraph from afar. This is another point where you may benefit from setting it aside for a few days and returning with fresh eyes.
As you review your vision paragraph, check for the following things:
Is it ambitious enough? Your paragraph should feel aspirational, not like a finite goal to be accomplished.
Is it too ambitious? Make sure you strike a balance between idealistic and unrealistic.
Does it accurately reflect your organization? Run your paragraph by internal stakeholders who weren’t involved in creating it, and as for their feedback on what may be missing, what parts may be unnecessary, or how certain ideas may be phrased more effectively.
Does it make sense? Have friends and family members read your paragraph to confirm that it makes sense to the average reader.
7. Write your final vision statement
Once you've adjusted your vision paragraph and made the changes you wanted to make, it's time to edit your vision paragraph down to a vision statement. In many cases, your paragraph may naturally shrink as you solicit and implement feedback from others, and you may even want to specifically ask for opinions on how your paragraph could be more concise.
Here are a few ways to shorten your vision paragraph:
Eliminate what's unnecessary. Now that you've stepped away from your paragraph a few times and gotten a few rounds of feedback, are there any phrases or ideas that don't feel as necessary as they did when you wrote it? Cut any parts that feel lackluster or less impactful than the rest of the paragraph.
Look for synonyms. Are there any areas where you used several words to say something that there's already a word for? For example, you might replace the phrase "give people the ability to," with "provide access."
Edit each concept individually. Chop your paragraph into sentences and chop your sentences into phrases. Pick up each small segment on its own and see if you can come up with a shorter way to phrase it. It helps if you evaluate the smaller segments out of order—hopping around or going backwards piece by piece will help you notice things that your brain smooths over when you're reading a full sentence.
When your vision statement is finished, bring it back around to your stakeholders to get final feedback and make any finishing tweaks.
Vision statement examples
There's no way around it—writing a vision statement is hard, especially if it's your first time doing so. Before you get started, or if you get stuck and need to spark some new ideas, take a look at some of these example vision statements for inspiration.
Note that not all companies have both a mission and a vision statement. Some companies combine the two into a single small paragraph that touches on tangible objectives (mission) as well as more long-reaching aspirations (vision). In some cases, companies won't label either statement, encasing them in a broader page dedicated to "purpose," "who we are," or another similar title.
Here, we've gathered mission and vision statements for a few companies that have publicly set both.
Mission: To act in the public interest, BBC serves all audiences through the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain.
Vision: To be the most creative company in the world.
Mission: IKEA offers a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at low and accessible prices.
Vision: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
Mission: Southwest connects people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.
Vision: To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.
Mission: Hasbro creates the world's best play and entertainment experiences.
Vision: To make the world a better place for all children, fans and families.
Mission: To make things universally accessible and useful, Google organizes the world's information.
Vision: To significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible.
Mission: To harness the next wave of innovation and solve customers’ toughest challenges, VMware uses disruptive technologies like edge computing, AI, blockchain, machine learning, Kubernetes, and more.
Vision: To build a sustainable, equitable and more secure future for all.
Use your vision statement to help you grow
A company's vision statement is a living document—it should adapt and change as your company achieves its business goals and sets new ones, grows in size, expands its offerings, and updates its mission. Revisit your vision statement once every year or so to make sure it still accurately reflects your company's ideal future; if not, adjust it!
But for now, enjoy the fact that your vision statement is written. Share it with your team, announce it to your customers, and use it to proudly guide your company forward.
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The Complete Guide to Writing a Strategic Plan
By Joe Weller | April 12, 2019 (updated July 17, 2021)
Writing a strategic plan can be daunting, as the process includes many steps. In this article, you’ll learn the basics of writing a strategic plan, what to include, common challenges, and more.
Included on this page, you'll find details on what to include in a strategic plan , the importance of an executive summary , how to write a mission statement , how to write a vision statement , and more.
The Basics of Writing a Strategic Plan
The strategic planning process takes time, but the payoff is huge. If done correctly, your strategic plan will engage and align stakeholders around your company’s priorities.
Strategic planning, also called strategy development or analysis and assessment , requires attention to detail and should be performed by someone who can follow through on next steps and regular updates. Strategic plans are not static documents — they change as new circumstances arise, both internally and externally.
Before beginning the strategic planning process, it’s important to make sure you have buy-in from management, a board of directors, or other leaders. Without it, the process cannot succeed.
Next, gather your planning team. The group should include people from various departments at different levels, and the planning process should be an open, free discussion within the group. It’s important for leaders to get input from the group as a whole, but they don’t necessarily need approval from everyone — that will slow down the process.
The plan author is responsible for writing and putting the final plan together and should work with a smaller group of writers to establish and standardize the tone and style of the final document or presentation.
Sometimes, it’s a good idea to hire an external party to help facilitate the strategic planning process.
“It often can be helpful to have a really good facilitator to organize and pursue strategic conversations,” says Professor John M. Bryson, McKnight Presidential Professor of Planning and Public Affairs at the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota and author of Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Strengthening and Sustaining Organizational Achievement .
Byson says the facilitator can be in-house or external, but they need experience. “You need to make sure someone is good, so there needs to be a vetting process,” he says.
One way to gauge a facilitator’s experience is by asking how they conduct conversations. “It’s important for facilitators to lead by asking questions,” Bryson says.
Bryson says that strong facilitators often ask the following questions:
What is the situation we find ourselves in?
What do we do?
How do we do it?
How do we link our purposes to our capabilities?
The facilitators also need to be able to handle conflict and diffuse situations by separating idea generation from judgement. “Conflict is part of strategic planning,” Bryson admits. “[Facilitators] need to hold the conversations open long enough to get enough ideas out there to be able to make wise choices.”
These outside helpers are sometimes more effective than internal facilitators since they are not emotionally invested in the outcome of the process. Thus, they can concentrate on the process and ask difficult questions.
A strategic plan is a dynamic document or presentation that details your company’s present situation, outlines your future plans, and shows you how the company can get there. You can take many approaches to the process and consider differing ideas about what needs to go into it, but some general concepts stand.
“Strategic planning is a prompt or a facilitator for fostering strategic thinking, acting, and learning,” says Bryson. He explains that he often begins planning projects with three questions:
What do you want to do?
How are we going to do it?
What would happen if you did what you want to do?
The answers to these questions make up the meat of the planning document.
A strategic plan is only effective when the writing and thinking is clear, since the intent is to help an organization keep to its mission through programs and capacity, while also building stakeholder engagement.
Question 1: Where Are We Now?
The answer (or answers) to the first question — where are we now? — addresses the foundation of your organization, and it can serve as an outline for the following sections of your strategic plan:
Core values and guiding principles
Identification of competing organizations
Industry analysis (this can include a SWOT or PEST analysis)
Question 2: Where Are We Going?
The answers to this question help you identify your goals for the future of the business and assess whether your current trajectory is the future you want. These aspects of the plan outline a strategy for achieving success and can include the following:
Vision statement about what the company will look like in the future
What is happening (both internally and externally) and what needs to change
The factors necessary for success
Question 3: How Do We Get There?
The answers to this question help you outline the many routes you can take to achieve your vision and match your strengths with opportunities in the market. A Gantt chart can help you map out and keep track of these initiatives.
You should include the following sections:
Specific and measurable goals
An execution plan that identifies who manages and monitors the plan
An evaluation plan that shows how you plan to measure the successes and setbacks that come with implementation
What to Include in a Strategic Plan
Strategic planning terminology is not standardized throughout the industry, and this can lead to confusion. Instead, strategic planning experts use many names for the different sections of a strategic plan.
“The terms are all over the map. It’s really the concept of what the intention of the terms are [that is important],” says Denise McNerney, President and CEO of iBossWell, Inc. , and incoming president of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP). She recommends coming up with a kind of glossary that defines the terms for your team. “One of the most important elements when you’re starting the strategic planning process is to get some clarity on the nomenclature. It’s just what works for your organization. Every organization is slightly different.”
No matter what terms you use, the general idea of a strategic plan is the same. “It’s like drawing a map for your company. One of the first steps is committing to a process, then determining how you’re going to do it,” McNerney explains.
She uses a basic diagram that she calls the strategic plan architecture . The areas above the red dotted line are the strategic parts of the plan. Below the red dotted line are the implementation pieces.
While the specific terminology varies, basic sections of a strategic plan include the following in roughly this order:
Elevator pitch or company description
Some plans will contain all the above sections, but others will not — what you include depends on your organization’s structure and culture.
“I want to keep it simple, so organizations can be successful in achieving [the strategic plan],” McNerney explains. “Your plan has to be aligned with your culture and your culture needs to be aligned with your plan if you’re going to be successful in implementing it.”
The following checklist will help you keep track of what you have done and what you still need to do.
Download Strategic Plan Sections Checklist
How to Write a Strategic Plan
Once you’ve assembled your team and defined your terms, it’s time to formalize your ideas by writing the strategic plan. The plan may be in the form of a document, a presentation, or another format.
You can use many models and formats to create your strategic plan (read more about them in this article ). However, you will likely need to include some basic sections, regardless of the particular method you choose (even if the order and way you present them vary). In many cases, the sections of a strategic plan build on each other, so you may have to write them in order.
One tip: Try to avoid jargon and generic terms; for example, words like maximize and succeed lose their punch. Additionally, remember that there are many terms for the same object in strategic planning.
The following sections walk you through how to write common sections of a strategic plan.
How to Write an Executive Summary
The key to writing a strong executive summary is being clear and concise. Don’t feel pressured to put anything and everything into this section — executive summaries should only be about one to two pages long and include the main points of the strategic plan.
The idea is to pique the reader’s interest and get them to read the rest of the plan. Because it functions as a review of the entire document, write the executive summary after you complete the rest of your strategic plan.
“If you have a plan that’s really lengthy, you should have a summary,” says Jim Stockmal, President of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP). He always writes summaries last, after he has all the data and information he needs for the plan. He says it is easier to cut than to create something.
For more information about writing an effective executive summary, a checklist, and free templates, read this article .
If you want a one-page executive summary, this template can help you decide what information to include.
Download One-Page Executive Summary Template
Excel | Word | PDF
How to Write a Company Description
Also called an elevator pitch , the company description is a brief outline of your organization and what it does. It should be short enough that it can be read or heard during the average elevator ride.
The company description should include the history of your company, the major products and services you provide, and any highlights and accomplishments, and it should accomplish the following:
Define what you are as a company.
Describe what the company does.
Identify your ideal client and customer.
Highlight what makes your company unique.
While this may seem basic, the company description changes as your company grows and changes. For example, your ideal customer five years ago might not be the same as the current standard or the one you want in five years.
Share the company description with everyone in your organization. If employees cannot accurately articulate what you do to others, you might miss out on opportunities.
How to Write a Mission Statement
The mission statement explains what your business is trying to achieve. In addition to guiding your entire company, it also helps your employees make decisions that move them toward the company’s overall mission and goals.
“Ideally, [the mission statement is] something that describes what you’re about at the highest level,” McNerney says. “It’s the reason you exist or what you do.”
Strong mission statements can help differentiate your company from your competitors and keep you on track toward your goals. It can also function as a type of tagline for your organization.
Mission statements should do the following:
Define your company’s purpose. Say what you do, who you do it for, and why it is valuable.
Use specific and easy-to-understand language.
Be inspirational while remaining realistic.
Be short and succinct.
This is your chance to define the way your company will make decisions based on goals, culture, and ethics. Mission statements should not be vague or generic, and they should set your business apart from others. If your mission statement could define many companies in your line of work, it is not a good mission statement.
Mission statements don’t have to be only outward-facing for customers or partners. In fact, it is also possible to include what your company does for its employees in your mission statement.
Unlike other parts of your strategic plan that are designed to be reviewed and edited periodically, your company’s mission statement should live as is for a while.
That said, make the effort to edit and refine your mission statement. Take out jargon like world class, best possible, state of the art, maximize, succeed , and so on, and cut vague or unspecific phrasing. Then let your strategic planning committee review it.
How to Write a Vision Statement
Every action your company does contributes to its vision. The vision statement explains what your company wants to achieve in the long term and can help inspire and align your team.
“The vision is the highest-ordered statement of the desired future or state of what you want your business to achieve,” McNerney explains.
A clear vision statement can help all stakeholders understand the meaning and purpose of your company. It should encourage and inspire employees while setting your company’s direction. It also helps you rule out elements that might not align with your vision.
Vision statements should be short (a few sentences). They should also be memorable, specific, and ambitious. But there is a fine line between being ambitious and creating a fantasy. The vision should be clearly attainable if you follow the goals and objectives you outline later in your strategic planning plan.
Because you need to know your company’s goals and objectives to create an accurate vision statement, you might need to wait until you have more information about the company’s direction to write your vision statement.
Below are questions to ask your team as you craft your vision statement:
What impact do we want to have on our community and industry?
How will we interact with others as a company?
What is the culture of the business?
Avoid broad statements that could apply to any company or industry. For example, phrases like “delivering a wonderful experience” could apply to many industries. Write in the present tense, avoid jargon, and be clear and concise.
Vision statements should accomplish the following:
Focus on success.
Look at and project about five to 10 years ahead.
Stay in line with the goals and values of your organization.
Once you write your vision statement, communicate it to everyone in your company. Your team should be able to easily understand and repeat the company’s vision statement. Remember, the statements can change as the environment in and around your company changes.
The Difference Between Mission and Vision Statements
Mission and vision statements are both important, but they serve very different purposes.
Mission statements show why a business exists, while vision statements are meant to inspire and provide direction. Mission statements are about the present, and vision statements are about the future. The mission provides items to act upon, and the vision offers goals to aspire to.
For example, if a vision statement is “No child goes to bed hungry,” the accompanying mission would be to provide food banks within the city limits.
While many organizations have both mission and vision statements, it’s not imperative. “Not everyone has a vision statement,” McNerney says. “Some organizations just have one.”
If you choose to have only one statement, McNerney offers some advice: “Any statement you have, if you have just one, needs to include what [you do], how [you do it], why [you do it], and who you do it for.”
During the planning process, these key statements might change. “Early on in the process, you need to talk about what you are doing and why and how you are doing it. Sometimes you think you know where you want to go, but you’re not really sure,” McNerney says. “You need to have flexibility both on the plan content and in the process.”
How to Write Your Company’s Core Values
Company core values , sometimes called organizational values , help you understand what drives the company to do what it does. In this section, you’ll learn a lot about your company and the people who work with you. It should be relatively easy to write.
“The values are the core of how you operate [and] how you treat your people, both internally and externally. Values describe the behaviors you really want to advance,” McNerney says.
There are both internal and external values looking at your employees and coworkers, as well as customers and outside stakeholders. Pinpointing values will help you figure out the traits of the people you want to hire and promote, as well as the qualities you’re looking for in your customers.
Your values should align with your vision statement and highlight your strengths while mitigating weaknesses. McNerney says many organizations do not really consider or are not honest about their company’s values when working on strategic plans, which can lead to failure.
“Your strategies have to align with your values and vice versa,” she explains.
Many companies’ values sound like meaningless jargon, so take the time to figure out what matters to your company and push beyond generic language.
How to Write about Your Industry
When planning ahead for your business, it’s important to look around. How are matters inside your company? What are your competitors doing? Who are your target customers?
“[If you don’t do a thorough industry analysis], you’re doing your planning with your head in the sand. If you’re not looking at the world around you, you’re missing a whole dimension about what should inform your decision making,” McNerney advises.
Writing about your industry helps you identify new opportunities for growth and shows you how you need to change in order to take advantage of those opportunities. Identify your key competitors, and define what you see as their strengths and weaknesses. Performing this analysis will help you figure out what you do best and how you compare to your competition. Once you know what you do well, you can exploit your strengths to your advantage.
In this section, also include your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis. You can choose from many templates to help you write this section.
Next, identify your target customers. Think about what they want and need, as well as how you can provide it. Do your competitors attract your target customers, or do you have a niche that sets you apart?
The industry analysis carries a price, but also provides many benefits. “It takes some time and money to do [a thorough industry analysis], but the lack of that understanding says a lot about the future of your organization. If you don’t know what is going on around you, how can you stay competitive?” explains McNerney.
How to Write Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives
This section is the bulk of your strategic plan. Many people confuse goals and objectives, thinking the terms are interchangeable, but many argue that the two are distinct. You can think of them this way:
Goals : Goals are broad statements about what you want to achieve as a company, and they’re usually qualitative. They function as a description of where you want to go, and they can address both the short and long term.
Objectives : Objectives support goals, and they’re usually quantitative and measurable. They describe how you will measure the progress needed to arrive at the destination you outlined in the goal. More than one objective can support one goal.
For example, if your goal is to achieve success as a strategic planner, your objective would be to write all sections of the strategic plan in one month.
iBossWell, Inc.’s McNerney reiterates that there are not hard and fast definitions for the terms goals and objectives , as well as many other strategic planning concepts. “I wouldn’t attempt to put a definition to the terms. You hear the terms goals and objectives a lot, but they mean different things to different people. What some people call a goal , others call an objective . What some people call an objective , others would call a KPI. ” They key, she explains, is to decide what the terms mean in your organization, explain the definitions to key stakeholders, and stick to those definitions.
How to Write Goals
Goals form the basis of your strategic plan. They set out your priorities and initiatives, and therefore are critical elements and define what your plan will accomplish. Some planning specialists use the term strategic objectives or strategic priorities when referring to goals, but for clarity, this article will use the term goals.
“[Goals] are the higher level that contain several statements about what your priorities are,” McNerney explains. They are often near the top of your plan’s hierarchy.
Each goal should reflect something you uncovered during the analysis phase of your strategic planning process. Goals should be precise and concise statements, not long narratives. For example, your goals might be the following:
Eliminate case backlog.
Lower production costs.
Increase total revenue.
Each goal should have a stated outcome and a deadline. Think of goal writing as a formula: Action + detail of the action + a measurable metric + a deadline = goal. For example, your goal might be: Increase total revenue by 5 percent in three product areas by the third quarter of 2020.
Another way to look at it: Verb (action) + adjective (description) = noun (result). An example goal: Increase website fundraising.
Your goals should strike a balance between being aspirational and tangible. You want to stretch your limits, but not make them too difficult to reach. Your entire organization and stakeholders should be able to remember and understand your goals.
Think about goals with varying lengths. Some should go out five to 10 years, others will be shorter — some significantly so. Some goals might even be quarterly, monthly, or weekly. But be careful to not create too many goals. Focus on the ones that allow you to zero in on what is critical for your company’s success. Remember, several objectives and action steps will likely come from each goal.
How to Write Objectives
Objectives are the turn-by-turn directions of how to achieve your goals. They are set in statement and purpose with no ambiguity about whether you achieve them or not.
Your goals are where you want to go. Next, you have to determine how to get there, via a few different objectives that support each goal. Note that objectives can cover several areas.
“You need implementation elements of the plan to be successful,” McNerney says, adding that some people refer to objectives as tactics , actions , and many other terms.
Objectives often begin with the words increase or decrease because they are quantifiable and measurable. You will know when you achieve an objective. They are action items, often with start and end dates.
Use the goal example from earlier: Increase total revenue by 5 percent in three product areas by the third quarter of 2020. In this example, your objectives could be:
Approach three new possible clients each month.
Promote the three key product areas on the website and in email newsletters.
Think of the acronym SMART when writing objectives: Make them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic/relevant, and time-bound.
Breaking down the process further, some strategic planners use the terms strategies and tactics to label ways to achieve objectives. Using these terms, strategies describe an approach or method you will use to achieve an objective. A tactic is a specific activity or project that achieves the strategy, which, in turn, helps achieve the objective.
How to Write about Capacity, Operations Plans, Marketing Plans, and Financial Plans
After you come up with your goals and objectives, you need to figure out who will do what, how you will market what they do, and how you will pay for what you need to do.
“If you choose to shortchange the process [and not talk about capacity and finances], you need to know what the consequences will be,” explains McNerney. “If you do not consider the additional costs or revenues your plan is going to drive, you may be creating a plan you cannot implement.”
To achieve all the goals outlined in your strategic plan, you need the right people in place. Include a section in your strategic plan where you talk about the capacity of your organization. Do you have the team members to accomplish the objectives you have outlined in order to reach your goals? If not, you may need to hire personnel.
The operations plan maps out your initiatives and shows you who is going to do what, when, and how. This helps transform your goals and objectives into a reality. A summary of it should go into your strategic plan. If you need assistance writing a comprehensive implementation plan for your organization, this article can guide you through the process.
A marketing plan describes how you attract prospects and convert them into customers. You don’t need to include the entire marketing plan in your strategic plan, but you might want to include a summary. For more information about writing marketing plans, this article can help.
Then there are finances. We would all like to accomplish every goal, but sometimes we do not have enough money to do so. A financial plan can help you set your priorities. Check out these templates to help you get started with a financial plan.
How to Write Performance Indicators
In order to know if you are reaching the goals you outline in your strategic plan, you need performance indicators. These indicators will show you what success looks like and ensure accountability. Sadly, strategic plans have a tendency to fail when nobody periodically assesses progress.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) can show you how your business is progressing. KPIs can be both financial and nonfinancial measures that help you chart your progress and take corrective measures if actions are not unfolding as they should. Other terms similar to KPIs include performance measures and performance indicators .
Performance indicators are not always financial, but they must be quantifiable. For example, tracking visitors to a website, customers completing a contact form, or the number of proposals that close with deals are all performance indicators that keep you on track toward achieving your goals.
When writing your performance indicators, pay attention to the following:
Define how often you need to report results.
Every KPI must have some sort of measure.
List a measure and a time period.
Note the data source where you will get your information to measure and track.
ASP’s Stockmal has some questions for you to ask yourself about picking performance indicators.
Are you in control of the performance measure?
Does the performance measure support the strategic outcomes?
Is it feasible?
Is data available?
Who is collecting that data, and how will they do it?
Is the data timely?
Is it cost-effective to collect that data?
ls the goal quantifiable, and can you measure it over time?
Are your targets realistic and time-bound?
Stockmal also says performance indicators cannot focus on only one thing at the detriment of another. “Don’t lose what makes you good,” he says. He adds that focusing on one KPI can hurt other areas of a company’s performance, so reaching a goal can be short-sided.
Some performance indicators can go into your strategic plan, but you might want to set other goals for your organization. A KPI dashboard can help you set up and track your performance and for more information about setting up a KPI dashboard, this article can help.
Communicating Your Strategic Plan
While writing your strategic plan, you should think about how to share it. A plan is no good if it sits on a shelf and nobody reads it.
“After the meetings are over, you have to turn your strategy into action,” says Stefan Hofmeyer, an experienced strategist and co-founder of Global PMI Partners . “Get in front of employees and present the plan [to get everyone involved].” Hofmeyer explains his research has shown that people stay with companies not always because of money, but often because they buy into the organization’s vision and want to play a part in helping it get where it wants to go. “These are the people you want to keep because they are invested,” he says.
Decide who should get a physical copy of the entire plan. This could include management, the board of directors, owners, and more. Do your best to keep it from your competitors. If you distribute it outside of your company, you might want to attach a confidentiality waiver.
You can communicate your plan to stakeholders in the following ways:
Hold a meeting to present the plan in person.
Highlight the plan in a company newsletter.
Include the plan in new employee onboarding.
Post the plan on the employee intranet, along with key highlights and a way to track progress.
If you hold a meeting, make sure you and other key planners are prepared to handle the feedback and discussion that will arise. You should be able to defend your plan and reinforce its key areas. The goal of the plan’s distribution is to make sure everyone understands their role in making the plan successful.
Remind people of your company’s mission, vision, and values to reinforce their importance. You can use posters or other visual methods to post around the office. The more that people feel they play an important part in the organization’s success, they more successful you will be in reaching your goals of your strategic plan.
Challenges in Writing a Strategic Plan
As mentioned, strategic planning is a process and involves a team. As with any team activity, there will be challenges.
Sometimes the consensus can take priority over what is clear. Peer pressure can be a strong force, especially if a boss or other manager is the one making suggestions and people feel pressured to conform. Some people might feel reluctant to give any input because they do not think it matters to the person who ultimately decides what goes into the plan.
Team troubles can also occur when one or more members does not think the plan is important or does not buy into the process. Team leaders need to take care of these troubles before they get out of hand.
Pay attention to your company culture and the readiness you have as a group, and adapt the planning process to fit accordingly. You need to find the balance between the process and the final product.
The planning process takes time. Many organizations do not give themselves enough time to plan properly, and once you finish planning, writing the document or presentation also takes time, as does implementation. Don’t plan so much that you ignore how you are going to put the plan into action. One symptom of this is not aligning the plan to fit the capacity or finances of the company.
Stockmal explains that many organizations often focus too much on the future and reaching their goals that they forget what made them a strong company in the first place. Business architecture is important, which Stockmal says is “building the capabilities the organization needs to fulfill its strategy.” He adds that nothing happens if there is no budget workers to do the work necessary to drive change.
Be careful with the information you gather. Do not take shortcuts in the research phase — that will lead to bad information coming out further in the process. Also, do not ignore negative information you may learn. Overcoming adversity is one way for companies to grow.
Be wary of cutting and pasting either from plans from past years or from other similar organizations. Every company is unique.
And while this may sound obvious, do not ignore what your planning process tells you. Your research might show you should not go in a direction you might want to.
Writing Different Types of Strategic Plans
The strategic planning process will differ based on your organization, but the basic concepts will stay the same. Whether you are a nonprofit, a school, or a for-profit entity, strategic plans will look at where you are and how you will get to where you want to go.
How to Write a Strategic Plan for a Nonprofit
For a nonprofit, the strategic plan’s purpose is mainly how to best advance the mission. It’s imperative to make sure the mission statement accurately fits the organization.
In addition to a SWOT analysis and other sections that go into any strategic plan, a nonprofit needs to keep an eye on changing factors, such as funding. Some funding sources have finite beginnings and endings. Strategic planning is often continuous for nonprofits.
A nonprofit has to make the community care about its cause. In a for-profit organization, the marketing department works to promote the company’s product or services to bring in new revenue. For a nonprofit, however, conveying that message needs to be part of the strategic plan.
Coming up with an evaluation method and KPIs can sometimes be difficult for a nonprofit, since they are often focused on goals other than financial gain. For example, a substance abuse prevention coalition is trying to keep teens from starting to drink or use drugs, and proving the coalition’s methods work is often difficult to quantify.
This template can help you visually outline your strategic plan for your nonprofit.
Download Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template
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How to Write a Strategic Plan for a School
Writing a strategic plan for a school can be difficult because of the variety of stakeholders involved, including students, teachers, other staff, and parents.
Strategic planning in a school is different from others because there are no markets to explore, products to produce, clients to woo, or adjustable timelines. Schools often have set boundaries, missions, and budgets.
Even with the differences, the same planning process and structure should be in place for schools as it is for other types of organizations.
This template can help your university or school outline your strategic plan.
Download University Strategic Plan Outline – Word
How to Write a 5-Year Strategic Plan
There is no set time period for a strategic plan, but five years can be a sweet spot. In some cases, yearly planning might keep you continually stuck in the planning process, while 10 years might be too far out.
In addition to the basic sections that go into any strategic plan, when forecasting five years into the future, put one- and three-year checkpoints into the plan so you can track progress intermittently.
How to Write a 3-Year Strategic Plan
While five years is often the strategic planning sweet spot, some organizations choose to create three-year plans. Looking too far ahead can be daunting, especially for a new or changing company.
In a three-year plan, the goals and objectives have a shorter timeframe and you need to monitor them more frequently. Build those checkpoints into the plan.
“Most organizations do a three- to five-year plan now because they recognize the technology and the changes in business that are pretty dynamic now,” Stockmal says.
How to Write a Departmental Strategic Plan
The first step in writing a strategic plan for your department is to pay attention to your company’s overall strategic plan. You want to make sure the plans align.
The steps in creating a plan for a department are the same as for an overall strategic plan, but the mission statement, vision, SWOT analysis, goals, objectives, and so on are specific to only the people in your department. Look at each person separately and consider their core competencies, strengths, capabilities, and weaknesses. Assign people who will be responsible for certain tasks and tactics necessary to achieve your goals.
If you have access to a plan from a previous year, see how your department did in meeting its goals. Adjust the new plan accordingly.
When you finish your departmental plan, make sure to submit it to whomever is responsible for your company’s overall plan. Expect to make changes.
How to Write a Strategic Plan for a Project
A strategic plan is for the big picture, not for a particular project for an organization. Instead of a strategic plan, this area would fall under project management.
If you have a failing project and need to turn it around, this article might help.
How to Write a Personal Strategic Plan
Creating a strategic plan isn’t only for businesses. You can also create a strategic plan to help guide both your professional and personal life. The key is to include what is important to you. This process takes time and reflection.
Be prepared for what you discover about yourself. Because you will be looking at your strengths and weaknesses, you might see things you do not like. It is important to be honest with yourself. A SWOT analysis on yourself will give you some honest feedback if you let it.
Begin with looking at your life as it is now. Are you satisfied? What do you want to do more or less? What do you value most in your life? Go deeper than saying family, happiness, and health. This exercise will help you clarify your values.
Once you know what is important to you, come up with a personal mission statement that reflects the values you cherish. As it does within a business, this statement will help guide you in making future decisions. If something does not fit within your personal mission, you shouldn’t do it.
Using the information you discovered during your SWOT and mission statement process, come up with goals that align with your values. The goals can be broad, but don’t forget to include action items and timeframes to help you reach your goals.
As for the evaluation portion, identify how you will keep yourself accountable and on track. You might involve a person to remind you about your plan, calendar reminders, small rewards when you achieve a goal, or another method that works for you.
Below is additional advice for personal strategic plans:
There are things you can control and things you cannot. Keep your focus on what you can act on.
Look at the positive instead of what you will give up. For example, instead of focusing on losing weight, concentrate on being healthier.
Do not overcommit, and do not ignore the little details that help you reach your goals.
No matter what, do not dwell on setbacks and remember to celebrate successes.
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Introducing the “Towards Responsible Publishing” proposal from cOAlition S
In this blog post, Bodo Stern, Chief of Strategic Initiatives at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Johan Rooryck, Executive Director of cOAlition S, outline the new proposal from cOAlition S aimed at facilitating the transition to an open, scholar-led communication ecosystem.
Since the announcement of the Plan S Principles five years ago, cOAlition S has ‘raised the temperature’ and stimulated experimentation in a publishing system that has struggled to keep pace with the digital transformation of the research enterprise.
A vision for a community-based scholarly communication system
Driven by the same “ duty of care for the good functioning of the science system ” that inspired Plan S, the funders forming cOAlition S are now exploring a new vision for scholarly communication; a vision that holds the promise of being more effective, affordable, and equitable, ultimately benefiting society as a whole.
Our vision is a community-based scholarly communication system fit for open science in the 21st, that empowers scholars to share the full range of their research outputs and to participate in new quality control mechanisms and evaluation standards for these outputs.
Addressing current shortcomings
This proposal – called Towards Responsible Publishing – stays true to the original Plan S mission that ‘[research] can only work optimally if all research results are made openly available to the scientific community’ . Moreover, it recognizes that the original focus on a static snapshot of the research process, the journal-accepted article, is problematic for several reasons.
First, the traditional journal-accepted article undermines timely dissemination and quality control of new research findings. Articles submitted under the pre-publication peer review model often take a year to get published. Such a long delay is arguably just as detrimental as the 12-month Open Access publication embargo that Plan S has eliminated. Compounding this delay, the cascading of articles from one journal to another, while concealing critical peer reviews, compromises the ability of the publishing system to fulfill its error-correcting and appraisal functions for science and scholarship.
Secondly, the journal-accepted article drives up publishing costs and puts more sustainable and equitable open access models at a disadvantage.
To address these and other shortcomings, the new proposal is anchored in two key concepts that extend Plan S:
1. Authors, not third-party suppliers, decide when and what to publish.
In such a ‘scholar-led’ publishing system, third-party suppliers can still offer and charge for services that facilitate peer review, publication and preservation. However, they will not block scholars from sharing their work at any stage during the research and dissemination process.
2. The scholarly record includes the full range of outputs created during the research cycle, and not just the final journal-accepted version.
By making early article versions and peer review feedback critical elements of the scholarly record, a future scholarly communication system can capture research ‘in the act’. Shining a light on how research progresses towards increasingly trustworthy knowledge creation offers opportunities for reviewing and filtering scholarly outputs for the purposes of curation and research assessment.
Enabling more effective curation mechanisms
In response to this proposal, some may ask “ Won’t we be flooded with author-released content? ”, and “ Who has time to read all these additional outputs?” . Though it may seem counterintuitive, we believe that sharing research at an earlier stage could be the key to unlocking more effective curation mechanisms for determining what information to read and rely upon.
Under the current models of research dissemination, the predominant curation signals are managed by journal decisions. However, these decisions typically do not reveal the evidence on which they are based, namely the peer feedback and the subsequent improvements on the original article.
In contrast, when the full range of scholarly outputs is publicly available, curation signals can be validated and traced back to the evidence that informed them. Such validation can work even if some outputs, such as peer review reports, remain anonymous.
We understand that not every reader will be motivated to access these additional outputs. Nonetheless, in much the same way as readers of scientific articles expect the underlying data to be available, even if most will never access it, we believe that making the peer review dialogue available will harness the corrective power of science.
The result of an open, post-publication review process is that those who are interested – such as fellow researchers, or grant application/tenure review committees etc. – can scrutinize and assess the work more effectively.
Soliciting community feedback
To understand to what extent this proposal resonates with the research community, cOAlition S – with support from Research Consulting Limited and the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) – will embark on a consultative process. This process will offer researchers and other stakeholders (such as research performing organizations, scholarly societies, and organizations that provide communication infrastructure) the opportunity to voice their opinions and contribute to the development of a proposal that serves their needs.
For more information about this consultation and details on how to participate, please visit: https://www.coalition-s.org/towards-responsible-publishing
Our proposal ‘Towards Responsible Publishing’ makes the case that Open Access publishing should extend beyond making the final product openly available. It should strive to disseminate the cumulative progress on a research project over time. This can be achieved when researchers take responsibility for sharing the full range of outputs related to their work and retain the right to do so freely and openly.
We urge all members of the research community to actively engage with this proposal. By embracing responsible publishing, we can collectively shape a more effective scholarly communication system, ensuring that the pursuit of knowledge benefits society at large. Your participation and support are crucial in realizing this vision.
Bodo Stern is the Chief of Strategic initiative at Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). He works directly with HHMI’s president and senior executive team to formulate and execute the organization’s strategic initiatives and direction, with emphasis on enhancing HHMI’s investment in research and science education. Bodo is also responsible for the Institute’s philanthropic collaborations to advance science. He previously served as HHMI’s chief development and strategy officer. Before joining HHMI, Bodo served for eight years as director of research affairs at the Harvard Center for Systems Biology, where he helped to manage the Bauer Fellows Program, a unique initiative that gives young scientists the opportunity to run independent research groups. He also has worked as a senior scientific editor at Cell. Bodo earned a PhD in biochemistry from University College, London, and an MA in biochemistry from the University of Tübingen, in Germany. His primary research explored how cells correct chromosome errors during cell division.
Johan Rooryck is Executive Director of cOAlition S and a linguistics professor at Leiden University. He is the editor-in-chief of the Fair Open Access journal Glossa: a journal of general linguistics since 2016. From 1999 to 2015, he was the executive editor of Lingua (Elsevier), when its Editorial Team and Board, as well as its reader and author community, decided to leave Lingua to found Glossa. He also is a founding member and president of the Fair Open Access Alliance (FOAA) and Linguistics in Open Access (LingOA). He is a Member of the Academia Europaea.
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Office of Creative Inquiry / QEP
Development of the 2026-2031 quality enhancement plan.
The QEP Topic Selection Committee is inviting the university community to participate in the process of selecting the topic for Tennessee Tech University's next Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for the period 2026-2031. The information provided below offers background and context for the development of this plan.
As part of the 2026 SACSCOC Reaffirmation effort, Tennessee Tech is required to create and implement an institution-wide plan aimed at improving either student learning or student success. These multi-year plans are known as Quality Enhancement Plans (QEPs), and the 2026-2031 QEP will mark the university's third such endeavor. When developing a QEP, the institution must adhere to the components outlined in SACSCOC Standard 7.2.
The institution has a Quality Enhancement Plan that:
- has a topic identified through its ongoing, comprehensive planning and evaluation processes;
- has broad-based support of institutional constituencies;
- focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success;
- commits resources to initiate, implement, and complete the QEP;
- includes a plan to assess achievement.
A QEP Topic Selection Committee has been formed to facilitate the selection of a targeted student learning outcome or student success metric. This process aims to incorporate input from various institutional stakeholders while aligning with the University's mission and strategic priorities. After reviewing institutional assessment data and considering the university's strategic goals, the committee has identified 12 potential topics related to student learning and/or success:
Career & Self-Development: Proactively developing oneself and one’s career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships within and without one’s organization.
Creative/Innovative Thinking: Generating new ideas and novel solutions through practices such as innovation, creative problem solving, creative thinking, imagination, visionary approaches, ingenuity, ideation, experimentation, and brainstorming.
Critical Thinking/Problem Solving/Argumentation: Identifying and responding to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.
Communication (Oral or Written): Clearly and effectively exchanging information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.
Digital/Technological Literacy: Understanding and leveraging technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.
Equity & Inclusion: Demonstrating the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures.
Intercultural/Global Fluency: Competency exhibited by an individual that values, respects, and learns from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions.
Leadership Skills: Recognizing and capitalizing on personal and team strengths to achieve organizational goals.
Personal Wellness/Well-Being: Seeking to inspire and empower students with skills to improve overall health including mental health, stress management, emotional intelligence, and resilience.
Professionalism/Ethics: Understanding and demonstrating effective work habits, and acting with integrity, honesty, accountability, respect, and competence in the interest of the larger community and workplace.
Research/Inquiry/Scholarship: Emphasizing opportunities for students to explore issues through the collection and analysis of evidence and to synthesize that information to generate an original scholarly product.
Teamwork/Collaboration Skills: Building and maintaining collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.
Resources the committee reviewed and discussed to develop this list
» tennessee tech university mission and vision , » tech tomorrow strategic plan , » institutional assessment data, – includes results of surveys administered to alumni and employers, as well as information from the idea course evaluations, national survey of student engagement, and california critical thinking skills test..
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