Everyone wants a
money-making venture, but you can’t get there just by saying
“Make It So” as Captain Picard used to say. He had his
mission statement defined. And so did Captain Kirk before
him. Many fans remember the opening line of the series:
Space: the final
frontier. These are the voyages of the
starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission:
To explore strange new worlds, to seek
out new life and new civilizations, to
boldly go where no
So, before we can make it so, let’s decide who, what, where,
when and how we get there!
Which comes first? Mission or Vision?
For a new start up business,
new program or plan to re-engineer your current services,
the vision statement will be formulated first as it will
guide the mission statement and the rest of the strategic plan. For an established business where the mission is
established, often the mission guides the vision statement
and the rest of the strategic plan for the future.
A strategy is a larger,
overall plan that can include several tactics, which are
smaller, focused, less impactful plans that are part of the
overall plan. While the original usage of these terms was
in a military context, they are also used in a wide variety
of everyday settings, especially business.
Think through your business
goals with strategy and tactics in mind. Think “big
Picture” overall plan comprised of several mini-goals to be
conducted over long periods of time. And then fine-tune it
with smaller tasks or procedures that you can put in place
now to get you to the larger end goal.
Thoughts to help you to Define Your Mission
How are you going to get to where you want to be?
What do we as an organization do?
What makes us different from our competitors
List your broad goals.
Ask yourself, “Why did I form the business?”
Why should my customers choose my business over others?
Define the key measure that you believe defines your success.
Who is your leadership team, i.e. who needs to be involved?
Assess your customer needs.
Conclude by using the above information and define your core
Then develop a mission statement by answering the questions
What do we do today
For whom do we do it
Why do we do what we want to do:
What, for whom and why.
When you’ve created your Mission Statement, evaluate its
Does it define your purpose and values?
Who are the organizations primary clients?
What are the company’s responsibilities to its clients?
A few memorable Mission Statements might serve to get you
started. While these companies are much larger than those
defined as small to medium sized businesses, the ideas and
beliefs expressed from the back offices of these successful
organizations may give you a place to start brainstorming
To improve our customers’ financial lives so profoundly…
they can’t imagine going back to the old way. To meet the
needs of an increasingly connected world, we are moving
aggressively on three fronts to create products and services
that are available how, where and when customers want them.
To be the Ultimate House of Luxury, defining style and
creating desire, now and forever. Chanel’s objectives seek
to maintain its legacy while successfully moving it to the
future, and continuing to be at the forefront of
Saving people money so they can live better. The company
traces its success to the ideals of its founder, Sam Walton.
These ideals are emphasized in Walmart’s vision statement:
“To be the best retailer in the hearts and minds of
consumers and employees.”
To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire
moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and
actions. To create value and make a difference. The Coca
Cola Company values are leadership, collaboration,
integrity, accountability, passion, diversity and quality.
Define Your Vision
Once you’ve reviewed your values and goals, picture it in
conjunction with “This is who I am” and “This is where I
am”. Now ask yourself, “What do I want to be and how do I
get there?” The purpose of a vision is to provide
direction. Effective visions are a combination of ideas
that express the following:
The organization’s purpose, their reason for
The organization’s core values, who they are and
striving to become.
The organization’s value proposition, what makes
them unique, what they are they good at and why
The organization’s strategic intent, a stretch
goal and future aspirations.
Some Benefits of effective visions are as follows:
Vision provides direction and helps the
organization prepare for the future.
Vision provides guidance for decision-making.
Vision shapes the organization’s strategy.
Vision guides the types of people you hire and
Vision defines what you will and what you will
Vision helps set priorities and guides planning.
Vision aligns people and activities across the
Vision reflects an organization’s core values
Vision empowers people and helps focus their
If you have a handle on the why’s and are ready to buy
into developing your Company’s Mission/Vision, it is
time to sit down with key players and “Make it so.”
Remember, your key players are critical to success.
When they are party to understanding the big picture and
the mission/vision and strategic goals, success is more
likely. In simple terms, it’s not enough to say “climb
the mountain”. People need to understand which mountain
and why the mountain is worth climbing. Today’s
unsettled times require fast and effective action and
this means people cannot spend time checking with an
executive every time a critical decision needs to be
made. An effective company vision provides the “North
Star”, by which we can navigate in times of uncertainty
or in our everyday actions.
Setting successful strategic goals.
We all instinctively know that goal setting is a
powerful means for achieving success. Goal setting as a
means for bringing about change and improved performance
is not a new idea. Nearly 2300 years ago the Greek
philosopher Aristotle wrote
change and one of the causes he identified was what he
called the final
causes – an exploration into why things came about. Aristotle
identified the final cause as one of the as change
happening as the result of a defined purpose or end goal.
The idea being that purpose or an end result is a
catalyst for change. In setting goals, remember your
team members are motivated by the accomplishment of
goals. Remember, get them involved.
This research showed that the achievement of goals is
directly related to the extent that these five
principles are present. Let us explore each of the five
principles of effective goal setting
in more detail
Unclear goals are one of the biggest stumbling blocks to
effective goal setting. The more specific or explicit
goal, the more precisely performance is regulated.
Clarity is about knowing exactly what you are trying to
achieve and by when. When goals are specific we mean
that they are measurable, that is we are able to
measure the goal’s outcomes. A clear goal is measurable and time-bound.
Measurable goals remove ambiguity and help you focus.
Clear and specific goals result in higher performance.
This is because measurable goals are more effective at
guiding action and behavior. Use strong action verbs
such as conduct, develop, build, plan, execute, etc.
Also, as so often quoted, if you can’t measure it, you
can’t manage it! And of additional importance,
measurements help us to know when we have achieved our
While it is a good start to have clear goals, it is just
as important to set challenging goals. Research found
that people are motivated by challenging goals. In fact,
the more difficult and specific a goal is, the harder
people will work to achieve it. When goals are too easy
or too difficult people will not put forth their best
Challenging and specific goals create a gap between
current and expected performance and therefore motivate
greater effort and persistence. Not only do challenging
goals motivate people to work harder. People believe
that difficult goals are more rewarding, they believe
that the more challenging a goal the bigger the
satisfaction and reward. When you next set goals ensure
they are challenging yet realistic, difficult yet
Research shows that people perform better when
they are committed to achieving their goals. It
is your emotional commitment to your goals that
provides the motivation and perseverance
demanded by challenging goals. Failing to take
time to build rational and emotional commitment
to your goals makes achieving them unlikely.
To achieve challenging goals you have to
believe in what you are doing and why you are
doing it. You must believe that what you are
doing is important and that the outcomes matter.
Commitment makes it more likely that you will
persevere in the face of difficulties, obstacles
and setbacks. Commitment builds the resilience
necessary to achieve challenging goals. High
commitment to goals is attained when (a) the
individual is convinced that the goal is
important; and (b) the individual is convinced
that the goal is attainable (or that, at least,
progress can be made toward it).
Also ensure you
have devoted sufficient resources in support of
your goals. The availability of resources to
support your goal is an essential component
required to build commitment. Ask yourself if
you can get it done in the proposed timeframe
and if you have the available resources
dedicated to the task. Resources include people,
money, skills, equipment and knowledge.
Once you have set your goals it’s important to
track and monitor your progress. Tracking the
progress you are making in achieving your goals
builds motivation and commitment. You don’t just
set goals and review them at the scheduled
completion date. You must track your progress,
get feedback and make adjustments along the way.
This ensures you remain on track and motivated.
Tracking your progress ensures your goals remain
effective and that you sustain commitment. When
working towards achieving your goals make time
for feedback and review. Schedule a dedicated
time to review your goals, such as a weekly or
monthly review. Use this time to identify
challenges and make adjustments to stay on
Setting specific, challenging and difficult
goals can result in increased task complexity.
Complex tasks which need to be completed to
achieve your goals can be overwhelming. If they
are not carefully managed, complex tasks can
cause you to lose motivation and erode
commitment. Eventually becoming huge obstacles
that stand in the way of your goals. Given this
you will need to take special care to manage
You can manage task complexity by breaking
complex tasks down into smaller chunks of
sub-tasks. Then craft a roadmap of smaller
sub-tasks that need to be completed on your way
to achieving your big goal. This means you will
need to develop a plan to guide you on your
journey. Plans help prevent you from getting
overwhelmed by task complexity. Plans also help
you to remain motivated, take action and monitor
your progress. Research shows that learning
goals should be used rather than performance
goals when dealing with complex tasks. When
people strive for goals on complex tasks, they
are least effective in discovering suitable task
strategies if: (a) they have no prior experience
or training on the task; (b) there is high
pressure to perform well; and (c) there is high
time pressure (to perform well immediately).”
So to overcome that stumbling block, you
will also need to manage complex tasks by
identifying where you have knowledge and skills
gaps. Once you have identified your gaps
consider setting a number of learning goals.
Also make sure that you give yourself sufficient
time to improve your knowledge and skills.
And once again set a deadline. When you hear
“time-bound” in connection with goals and
objectives, it means setting deadlines for the
achievement of the objective. Deadlines create
an all important sense of urgency. If you don’t
set a deadline, you will reduce the motivation
and urgency required to execute tasks. Deadlines
create the necessary focus, helps set priority
and prompts action.
In summary, follow the five principles:
Make sure your goals are clear, specific
Make sure you aim high and set goals that
Make sure that you are rationally and
emotionally committed to achieving your goals.
Monitor your progress by developing a
weekly and quarterly review process to help you
stay on track.
Consider the complexity of the tasks
demanded by your goals and chunk them into
smaller tasks when appropriate. Also be sure to
make time for learning, development and growth.
If smart goal setting
is used along with the mission and vision of the
company, with targeted end results defined, your
company is well on the way to success.
With goals established (some financial, some non-financial, some
customer driven, some employee driven, etc.) and
prior year financial statements in hand,
translate the result of your brainstorming
session into meaningful measurements. You can
start from your past financial results and tweak
the budget to arrive at realistic financial
results, and targeted key performance
Review the preset financial templates, or use customization and
even custom fields to set a standard
reporting mechanism that is effective to
monitor your business needs and focus
points and get the reports delivered to
those responsible for managing those
specific areas of the business. They
can be responsible and accountable with
valid, timely information with which to
proactively navigate the Company’s path
Go ahead, follow your
North Star and Make It So.