Strategic Planning ProcessStep One - Foundation
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What is a Vision and Purpose?
A vision and purpose should encapsulate who you are as a business. At the top-most level, the statements describe what you want to achieve, and how you will interact with society, your staff, and your customers. It provides the foundation for a comprehensive assessment.
Creating the core
Strength comes from the core. And that’s where the foundation of your strategy is built; your core values. These are fundamental in helping to create your vision and purpose. And the best news is, they’re already a big part of your business; they’re why you started in the first place. What do you believe? How do you work? Why do you work the way you do? What is it all for? Core values might include things like Integrity, Honesty, Helpfulness, Customer Focus or Sustainable Working.
Make a list of your core values and then be ruthless and cut it down to the top five or six. These are the most important values that you, your staff and your customers should believe.
Making a statement
Now that you have your core values locked down, it’s time for your vision statement. This is about where you want to go. It’s not what you do, but it’s where you want to be; the inspirational long-term view for your future and where you will be in the world as a result.
Let’s take a look at some examples from some well-known brands and organisations:
Nike: “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world” (*if you have a body, you are an athlete)
Microsoft: “To empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”
Amazon: “To be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online”
Sainsbury’s: “To be the most trusted retailer, where people love to work and shop”
We can see from these examples that a vision statement is broad and inspirational.
Where the vision states where you want to be in the future, the purpose states how you will get there and the reason you exist.
So, for example:
Nike’s vision is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete”.
Their purpose is:
“We do that by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.”
Both the vision and the purpose are intrinsically linked. Although some businesses prefer to separate the two, if you are able to combine your vision and purpose, along with your core values, your strategic intent will be all the more powerful.