How To Workshop Your Mission and Vision
Like so many things in life, crafting a meaningful mission and vision for your company is about more than the end result – it’s about the process.
In this post, I want to share the four-step approach we use to help businesses develop the kind of mission and vision that is built with purpose and not just part of an arbitrary checklist and that will actually have an impact on customers, employees and even the company’s founders.
Before we dive in, a couple of definitions:
Your mission defines your business objectives and what you do to reach them. It defines your company’s focus and reason for being - the impact you want to make. For example, at The EMMS, our mission is to help start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses achieve their goals through strategic marketing that has been designed with purpose - not just to make noise.
Your vision should be aspirational and forward-thinking. It puts into words what your company endeavours to become or achieve in the future. At The EMMS, our vision is to help more entrepreneurs succeed by developing an ecosystem that supports start-ups and their founders through skill development and having the right connections when it matters most.
Now try it for yourself. Below are the four steps you can follow to workshop your own mission and vision:
Step 1: Bring the Right People to the Table
Creating a mission and vision should be a collaborative process involving multiple people, ideally representing a variety of roles within the company. Depending on how big your company is, you may want to involve your entire team or only select employees. Aim to have 5 to 7 people at the table, or include your entire company if its smaller than that.
I always recommend including the company founders (even if they’re really busy!), as well a marketing lead, someone who is customer-facing and someone who works on your product. This will enable you to bring a range of viewpoints to the table. If you’re still just a company of one, consider asking a trusted advisor or someone who understands your business to help you.
It can be really helpful to invite a moderator from outside your company to join as well, as they will have an independent, objective point of view and can help you see things more clearly. In any group setting, it can be difficult to come to a consensus, and so often the loudest voice will win. An experienced moderator can facilitate a more productive, inclusive discussion and help find common ground when there are disagreements.
Step 2: Get Buy-in from Stakeholders
Before you meet in person, communicate to everyone involved why it’s important to develop a strong mission and vision, and how valuable their input will be. You want everyone to come to the meeting excited to contribute to something important, not wondering what the point is.
Give everyone an idea of what you will do during the meeting, what the outcome will be, and how this will help the company move forward in the future. You may also want to ask people to spend some independent time thinking about what they believe the company’s objectives should be, and what they want to achieve in the future.
Step 3: Workshop your Mission and Vision
Starting with your mission, have your team work together to brainstorm ideas. There are no wrong answers!
Work through the following questions together:
What do we really do as a company?
What makes us different in how we do what we do?
Who benefits from what we do?
Why does it matter?
Once you feel you have a good overview, start connecting the dots between each of these questions. From there you can start to hone in on your mission statement.
Next move onto your vision. This is the time to think beyond what’s possible now and shout out your wildest ambitions. Your vision should embody the change your want to see in the world; it should be something so meaningful, so worthy of pursuit, it will keep you motivated for years into the future.
Brainstorm all of the possible ways you could make an impact, then look for the underlying motivation; the common ground between all your ideas.
The end result should be a very short yet ambitious explanation of how your company will impact the world.
Step 4: Implement your Mission and Vision
Once you feel confident in your mission and vision, share them with your entire company, publish them on your website, discuss them across your marketing platforms, and make a point of referring back to them on a regular basis.
Your mission and vision are not just statements but living, breathing things! They should guide your company in everything you do, and they should tell your customers something about you too.
As your company evolves, you may need to revise your mission to make sure it accurately reflects what you do, but ideally your vision will be broad enough to stand the test of time.
Working toward one big goal over many years can be incredibly motivating for your entire team, which can ultimately have a tremendous impact on your bottom line.
Where to Begin
Whether you already have a mission and vision that doesn’t truly resonate or you’ve never given these things much thought, it’s never too late to start putting into words the purpose behind your company.
If you’ve started on this process but feel a bit stuck, give us a shout for an initial consultation or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s make your workshop a success!