How can companies build a strategic framework that includes a mission statement, vision, and core values?
To help you start from the best position in creating a framework, we asked CEOs, managers, and other strategic business experts this question. From backing up your vision and values to getting specific with your value, peruse the recommendations below to master creating an amazing framework to maximize your future strategies.
Make sure your mission statement, vision, and values can be supported with real-life examples from your organization. There's nothing worse than reading a stellar collection of visions and values just to discover that the company is great on paper, but hardly anywhere else.
For example, if one of your values pertains to inclusivity, your organization should be the kind that makes the necessary adjustments to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, ability, size, or background, can thrive within your company.
- Michael Fischer, Founder, Elite HRT
While building a strong framework is usually the responsibility of the leadership team, there’s no reason stakeholders across different levels cannot contribute their thoughts.
Every level of the company has different priorities, and every layer of the company structure has an outlook that differs from the others. And yet, each of these different opinions and perspectives can come together to create a strategic framework that is not just indicative of the leadership’s line of thought but an amalgamation of the best ideas.
Conducting brainstorming sessions or extending open invitations to ideate is a great way to begin.
- Riley Beam, Managing Attorney, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.
Start small—every business has dozens of goals and large visions for what they think their strategic frameworks will look like, and this can get overwhelming, fast.
It can also lead to a diluted framework that's all over the place—starting small and with a few core values will help build out a strategy that's cohesive and interesting.
- Adam Shlomi, Founder, SoFlo Tutors
A great strategic framework is not purely driven from the top. We engage each team in the process, asking them to analyze strengths, weaknesses, and macro-environmental factors, and as a result, they suggest their own priorities for the business.
We also undertake this process with the senior team, and then analyze all points to develop a final strategy. If people are engaged in the process from the start, it is more likely that we will deliver the objectives as they are created.
We have developed a "strategy on a page" which then distills our mission, vision, proposition, and strategic objectives for the year onto a single page. More detailed plans are beneath this, which are used to measure quarterly progress. But the "strategy on a page" provides a significant reference point for all team members throughout the year and can be used in presentations, wall posters, etc.
- Ben Foster, Managing Director, The SEO Works
I stand by the phrase “don't let perfect get in the way of good.”
For companies building a framework for their mission statement, vision, and values, take it from my experience as an agency owner and someone who has worked on this sort of thing with multiple businesses. You will not get it right on the money the first time. In fact, you'll probably end up iterating over several months, if not years.
That's OK. That's normal. Don't be deterred. But allow your imperfections, too. You cannot linger on this stuff forever and never share it with the team or with your potential customers. Just be honest. Say, “this is where we are now” even if it's not quite there yet. Something is better than nothing. Good enough is good enough.
- Matthew Stibbe, CEO, Articulate Marketing
Ask why, who, what, and how? Why did you first want to start this business? Who do you want to serve? What do you hope to accomplish in the future and how do you expect your values to inform your decisions?
Answer those questions and your mission statement, vision, and values will be in alignment with whom you are, instilling your business with passion and commitment from day one!
- Jeff Goodwin, Senior Director of Performance, Orgain
In my opinion, it is best to begin with the end goal in mind.
Many people make the mistake of thinking they're building a foundation when they're actually just planning out their next steps. The actual goal is to create something that will last, like a skyscraper.
You can't build something that's going to stand up for 100 years without thinking about how you want it to look at the end of its life—and that means considering what it will take to maintain it as well as what kind of people will be involved in maintaining it.
So my advice is: start by envisioning what your company will look like after decades in the business and then build backward from there.
- Shaun Connell, Founder, Writing Tips Institute
Your brand guide is a living document–what you decide to be your mission statement at the beginning of your business journey may change over time.
For example, as you build out your products and services, sometimes one offering does extremely well, and you decide to specialize or expand into a different area which may impact your brand identity. It's important to be open to change and know that your brand isn't set in stone.
- Breanne Millette, CEO, BISOULOVELY
So many “strategy” retreats create visions and missions and then jump to goals and initiatives, but that leaves out the actual strategy. It’s critical to develop a theory about exactly how your organization will create new value and fulfill its goals. Who is the market? You can’t be for everyone. Defining who your customer is—and is not—is as important as defining what you sell.
How will you be distinct from your competitors? You can be distinct in many ways: your product, means of delivery, pricing, quality, or something else. But you must decide that.
Only with that in place—a clear target market and an actual strategic differentiator—does it make any sense to craft initiatives, because each and every project MUST create value by deepening your delivery of that unique product or service to that specific customer.
- Amie Devero, President, Beyond Better Strategy and Coaching
My advice is really simple. Believe in what you write. Every company has a journey and a story behind that journey.
Make sure that your strategic framework reflects not only the firm’s previous journey but what you hope will be its future. Then believe that what you have written can be manifested through simple hard work.
Positive visualization techniques are one of the best ways to actualize an idea and companies building a strategic framework must be able to visualize it and believe in it for it to succeed and represent something meaningful.
- Alan Carr, Director, Webpop Design
When creating your framework, you want to make sure it resonates with your target audience. Most likely, you will already have a direction or a good idea of what your company's vision and ethics are, but knowing how to present them and what to focus on with messaging will be crucial.
This means doing market research either before or in parallel when creating your strategic framework. Create a buyer persona based on whatever data you have available and craft your brand message in a way that you believe will reach the audience.
We overhauled our own strategic framework in early 2022 using onboarding forms and client feedback collecting over the previous years. We focused on certain "hot words" that we knew the audience would resonate with the most and then heavily integrated these into the website.
People regularly cited things like "local" and "professional" in their feedback, so we added these to our Mission Statement and Vision landing pages.
- Ralph Cope, COO, Epic Backpacker Tours
When companies are building a strategic framework, one of the best things they can do is determine what job their company can execute for current and future customers.
To better work out what they offer, companies need to first take a step back and determine why they do what they do. Once a company has identified the reason they are running its business, it can then focus on its products or services.
By doing this, companies become more successful at sharpening their brand messaging, improving their product or service, and becoming more efficient at executing their overall vision.
As companies develop a strong understanding of why they exist and the customer needs they can meet, they can build a foundation that will provide meaningful insight and perpetual growth.
- Mark Childress, Founding Attorney, Law Offices of Mark Childress
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