From The Committed Enterprise: How to Make Vision and Values Work


Chart 2.1: Same issues, different words


Possible descriptors

What are we here for?

  • Purpose

  • Mission

  • Aim

Where are we going?

  • Vision

  • Goal

  • Strategic intent

  • Destination

  • Future direction

What beliefs will guide our behaviour?

  • Values

  • Credo

  • Ethos

  • Principles

  • Guidelines

  • Rules

What's the meaning of all this?

In the past two decades, organization leaders have begun to speak with religious zeal, using words like 'mission', 'vision' and 'values'. They refer to 'purpose', 'strategic intent', 'practices', as Chart 2.1 shows. But still they hang on to the simple 'goals', 'objectives' and 'strategies' of earlier times. Some of these terms are used interchangeably. Most are ill defined. This section establishes how they will be used in this book.

Based on interviews with 125 organization leaders, there was broad agreement on three issues for every organization. These are also the fundamental questions of life:

  • What are we here for?

  • Where are we going?

  • What beliefs will guide us on the journey?

That's where the consensus ended. The fun began in selecting the words to describe the answers. Many people cringe at the word 'mission', preferring 'purpose'. 'Mission' and 'vision' are often confused or combined. Life would be a lot simpler if there were fewer words to choose from and Chart 2.1 illustrates some of those in use. However, as long as all three fundamental questions are addressed, the words chosen don't matter. Each organization should adopt those it feels most comfortable with.

For consistency, this book will use 'purpose', 'vision' and 'values' to...

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Topics of Interest

Overview Chart 3.1: The Seven Best Practices Chart 3.2: Best Practice No. 1 - linking stakeholders Best practice defined Based on research (Chapter 1, p. 14), seven key steps in making vision and...

The importance of values In his book The Committed Enterprise, Professor, consultant and author Hugh Davidson discusses the results of his interviews with 125 organisational leaders on the subject of...

Background This interview outline was used for all organizations. For companies, acquisitions/mergers was also discussed, and for international entities, tailoring of vision and values to local...

Overview There are many related concepts around vision: strategic intent, mission, objectives, goals and performance standards. The chapter explores them in some detail, and presents them in an...

Overview If you don't know where you're going, it doesn't matter which way you go. The Cheshire Cat (paraphrased) from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland By the end of the decade, we...