Think It

The “Should of an Organization”

Core Values: This is the foundation that the entire business is built upon. What’s really important to an organization. They are the essential and enduring tenets–a small set of general guiding principles, they are timeless. They are not to be compromised for financial gain or short-term expediency. Each value should be a piercing simplicity that provides substantial guidance to the members of the organization. They cannot be copied or dictated; they are what is authentically believed by the leaders of the organization. There should only be a few, between 3 and 6.

The “Why of an Organization”

Mission: Enduring purpose. The fundamental reason for the organization’s existence beyond just making money. It is a direction, a general heading, a perpetual guiding star on the horizon. It does not change over time. It is generally abstract and can never be achieved, only pursued. For example, for NASA: “advancing man’s capability to explore the heavens”.

The “Where of an Organization”

Vision: A picture of a desired future that supports the mission, or an image of the future we seek to create. It is a specific destination that is concrete and achievable. A good one engages people–it reaches out and grabs them in the gut. It should be tangible, energizing, highly focused. There can be many visions over time that support the mission. The time scale is usually around 1 to 5 years. For example: “a man on the moon by the end of the ’60s”. You will often hear a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal), associated with a Vision.