Why Leaders Should Not Drive With Their Eyes Closed – Part One

By Nkem Mpamah

Having a crystal clear, compelling, and extremely well communicated vision is without doubt the number one business success principle for building any successful organization irrespective of size, industry, or geography. Notwithstanding the enormous benefits organizations stand to gain from having a vivid vision, the concept has been so overused, trivialized and misunderstood by many people that it has resulted in the terms Mission, Vision, and Values (MVV) being seriously confused.

Let me begin by clarifying this confusion, and take a step further in part two of this series, to explain how you can increase your effectiveness, productivity, and profit margins as well as build a sustainable organization by simply clarifying your vision.

So what is Mission, Vision and Values statement?

A Mission Statement is the description of what you or your business is meant for. It captures the purpose and primary objectives for your being, living or establishment. In other words, for an organization, a mission describes the solution you are meant to provide to your employees, customers, communities around you, and the world at large through your products and services.

Every mission must answer three basic questions about:

• Why do we exist?
• Whom do we serve?
• What value or benefit do we give our stakeholders, community, or the world?

A Vision Statement describes where the organization wants to be (when it grows up), and the directions it would take to get there. Vision statements paint a vivid image of how the future will look when the organization and its employees get there in such a way that everyone knows well in advance and recognizes it when they get there. Vision is futuristic – it is the dream or image leaders have in mind about what their businesses will be say in five, 10 or 20 years from today.

Values Statements are different. They are the fundamental beliefs, behaviors, and commitments that organizations agree to abide by. Unlike mission and vision, values are not created; they evolve from the character and behaviors of both leaders and employees within the business and are the codes of conduct by which the business is built.

For example, an organization’s values may be honesty, integrity, professional development, transparency, or customer satisfaction. These written codes define how each person within the organization behave to one another in the course of executing their tasks. It is important to understand that while most businesses tolerate errors and mistakes that often occur in their day-to-day business execution processes by employees, any violation of one aspect of its values can be viewed very seriously by senior management as breach of a fundamental code of conduct, and can be severely punished.

In my next instalment I’ll be discussing how clarifying the above statements can help a business increase profitability. Make sure to read on.

Nkem Mpamah is CEO and Founder of Cognition Global Concepts, Cambridge. He specializes in creating sustainable business transformations based on a cognitive approach. Nkem helps leaders and teams to work in alignment with their corporate objectives to increase performance, double productivity, and achieve extra-ordinary results.

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