In this phase, we will determine the organization’s values, vision, mission, and value discipline. Most employees will be invited for the first two days of planning where these foundational pieces are hammered out, revised, or affirmed.
Values are the software of the soul. They aren’t permanent, and yet they don’t change all that much over the course of our lives. They are coded in us, prompting us to act in certain, consistent ways. Our value systems and individual beliefs are learned. From the moment we’re able to process thoughts and language, we take cues from other people and our environment. Organizations have values that strongly impact the culture and behavior. In healthy and aligned organizations, the stated values and operating values are one and the same.
Vision is a measurable direction of where you are going. The destination must be crystal clear, not soft and mushy. If your vision was to climb to the top of Everest, you would certainly know where you were going, when you arrived, and have photographic proof when you got back. If you can’t do this with your vision, it is likely not clear enough or it may be your mission and not your vision.
The mission statement is your statement of purpose. It describes why you exist as an organization. It both tells what you exist to do and what you will not do. It provides the organization a way to stay focused on your core competencies and prevents you from being distracted by opportunities that do not fit your purpose. The mission statement does not describe the methods you use to accomplish your vision; it describes why you exist to accomplish the vision.
According to Fred Wiersema and Michael Treacy in The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market, there are three different types of “value disciplines” that successful companies can adopt to command leadership in their markets. We will decide which one is right for you, based upon: your value proposition, client needs, core processes, improvement levers, and major improvement challenges.