Is a vision, mission statement & values a waste of time?

August 18th, 2014

I was asked the other day by an SME client if they needed a vision, mission statement & values for their business?   They said they had some previously developed for them by their accountant, it didn’t mean much & they never looked at it again.   What do you think my answer was?

Simply that it was up to them.   It’s their business & they have the right to run it as they best see fit – after all they are the ones that work in it every day & understand it more than anyone.

Now if they had asked was there value in having a vision, mission statement & values I would have given them a resounding YES!

You see to me these statements in effect sum up what a company is about, what they want to achieve & how they will go about it (in a broad sense).   If you don’t know where you’re heading it’s very hard to work out if you’ve arrived or are even on the right path.

So who should develop the vision, mission & values?

In this case the client’s accountant had completed it for them.   Now that isn’t as bad as it sounds.   The accountant didn’t just come up with the ideas & say here we are, it was done in conjunction with a planning session – but it seemed more what the accountant thought they should achieve rather than the business owners themselves.

The vision is normally determined by the SME owner / board.   If you have an engaged team ideally they can be involved in determining what will move you towards your vision & what values should determine the course of action & how you do business.

British businessman Sir John Harvey Jones once said ‘if the board is not taking the company purposefully into the future, who is?’

What value is there in developing a vision for your business?

As I said before if you don’t know what you want you’re unlikely ever to achieve it.   Key benefits include:

  • Clear direction
  • Provides structure around decision making
  • Let’s you think about getting the right people ‘on the bus’
  • Allows you to allocate resources
  • & the list goes on

For a lot of people developing this process is the hardest part of their business operation.   Often they have bought a business or it has just grown over a period of time & they end up just doing the same thing over & over without giving the bigger picture any thought.

What is a key point to having a strong vision?

The main thing is that it needs to be central to what you want.   Not to what your mates think you should do, not what your advisors think you should do, but what is important to you.   Then it needs to become an integral part of your business on a day to day basis.   Not something that gets dusted off annually & reviewed but something that guides & directs behaviour on a daily basis.

So take the time, review what you want & how you’re going to get there & you might be surprised by the results!

If you would like assistance in developing the vision, mission & values for your business please contact Plan A Consulting

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