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Establishing Institutional Excellence

Corporate Vision, Mission Statement, and Goals

by Vadim Kotelnikov, Founder, 1000ventures.com

"If you don't know where you're going, then sure as anything you won't get there"

Corporate Vision May Contain Commitment to:

  • Developing a great new product or service

  • Serving customers through the defined service portfolio

  • Ensuring quality and responsiveness of customer services

  • Providing an enjoyable work environment for employees

  • Ensuring financial strength and sustainable growth of the company for the benefit of its stakeholders

Key Elements of the Mission Statement

  • Obligations to stakeholders

  • Scope of the business

  • Sources of competitive advantage

  • View of the future

Questions Addressed by Mission Statements

  • What is the purpose of organization?

  • What is unique about the organization?

  • What are its principal products and markets?

  • What are its values?

  • Where is it hoping to be in five or ten years' time?

Three Main Benefits Attributed to Mission Statements

  1. They can help companies to focus their strategy by defining some boundaries within which to operate.

  2. They can define the dimensions along which an organization's performance is to be measured and judged.

  3. They can suggest standards for individual ethical behavior.

The Four Approaches to Setting a Mission

(by James Collins and Jerry Porras)

  1. Targeting

  2. Common enemy

  3. Role model

  4. Internal transformation

Four Perspectives that Need to Be Balanced to Achieve the Organizational Strategy

  1. The customer perspective

  2. The learning and growth perspective

  3. The internal process perspective

  4. The financial perspective

Related how-to guides:

Mastering Corporate Strategy

Setting Objectives and Planning

Strategic Management

Strategic Innovation: Road-Mapping


Vision refers to the category of intentions that are broad, all-intrusive and forward-thinking. The corporate success depends on the vision articulated by the chief executive or the top management. A vision is the image that a business must have of its goals before it sets out to reach them. It describes aspirations for the future, without specifying the means that will be used to achieve those desired ends.

For a vision to have any impact of the employees of an organization it has to be conveyed in a dramatic and enduring way. The most effective visions are those that inspire, usually asking employees for the best, the most or the greatest. Make sure you keep stretch in your vision, communicate it constantly, and keep linking the events of today to your vision, underscoring the relationship between the two.

Warren Bennis, a noted writer on leadership, says: "To choose a direction, an executive must have developed a mental image of the possible and desirable future state of the organization. This image, which we call a vision, may be as vague as a dream or as precise as a goal or a mission statement."

Mission Statement

A mission statement is an organization's vision translated into written form. It makes concrete the leader's view of the direction and purpose of the organization. For many corporate leaders it is a vital element in any attempt to motivate employees and to give them a sense of priorities.

A mission statement should be a short and concise statement of goals and priorities. In turn, goals are specific objectives that relate to specific time periods and are stated in terms of facts. The primary goal of any business is to increase stakeholder value. The most important stakeholders are shareholders who own the business, employees who work for the business, and clients or customers who purchase products and/or services from the business.

For instance, Chrysler's goal, as written in their mission statement, is clear - it is focused on consumer satisfaction: "Chrysler's primary goal is to achieve consumer satisfaction. We do it through engineering excellence, innovative products, high quality and superior service. And we do it as a team." (1988)

Setting Goals

The major outcome of strategic road-mapping and strategic planning, after gathering all necessary information, is the setting of goals for the organization based on its vision and mission statement. A goal is a long-range aim for a specific period. It must be specific and realistic. Long-range goals set through strategic planning are translated into activities that will ensure reaching the goal through operational planning.

Setting Objectives (more)

Setting objectives involves a continuous process of research and decision-making. Knowledge of yourself and your unit is a vital starting point in setting objectives.

Strategic planning takes place at the highest levels; other managers are involved with operational planning. The first step in operational planning is defining objectives - the result expected by the end of the budget (or other designated) cycle.

The objectives must be:

  • be focused on a result, not an activity

  • be consistent

  • be specific

  • be measurable

  • be related to time

  • be attainable

Corporate Strategy (more)

Successful companies are those that focus their efforts strategically. To meet and exceed customer satisfaction, the business team needs to follow an overall organizational strategy. A successful strategy adds value for the targeted customers over the long run by consistently meeting their needs better than the competition does.

Strategy is the way in which a company orients itself towards the market in which it operates and towards the other companies in the marketplace against which it competes. It is a plan an organization formulates to gain a sustainable advantage over the competition. Strategy answers the following questions:

  • what are the sources of the company's sustainable competitive advantage?

  • how a company will position itself against competition in the market over the long run to secure a sustainable competitive advantage?

  • what are the key strategic priorities?.. More


  1. "Guide to Management Ideas", Tim Hindle, 2001

  2. "Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies", Collins, J. and Porras, J., 1994

  3. "The 10-day MBA", Steven Silbiger, 1999

  4. "Extreme Management", Mark Stevens, 2001

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