Governing Ideas of Any Organization or Individual

Leave the first response January 26, 2009 / Posted in Mindful Leadership

A Vision, a purpose or mission, and core values are the governing ideas behind any enterprise -individual or organizational.

These ideas answer three critical question: “What?” “Why?” and “How?”

Vision is the “WHAT?” The picture of the future we seek to create. A personal vision is the goal pulling you forward that makes all the work worthwhile. Vision is a specific destination, a picture of a desired future. Vision is concrete

Purpose (or “mission”) is the “WHY?” the organization’s answer to the question, “Why do we exist?” For an individual it is a sense of why she is alive. Purpose is similar to a direction, a general heading. Purpose is abstract. Purpose is “advancing man’s capability to explore the heavens.” Vision is “a man on the moon by the end of the 1960’s.” Purpose is “being the best I can be,” “excellence.” Vision is breaking four minutes in the mile.

Core values answer the question “How do we want to act, consistent with our mission, along the path toward achieving our vision?” An organization’s values might include integrity, openness, honesty, freedom, etc. They describe how the company want life to be on a day-to-day basis, while pursuing the vision.

All three governing ideas together answer the question:

  • “What Do We Believe In?”
  • Core values are necessary to help people with day-to-day decision making.
  • Core values are only helpful if they can be translated into concrete behaviors
  • Purpose is very abstract.
  • Vision is long term.

pp. 223-225 Peter Senge: Fifth Discipline, 1990

Values of an organization are evidenced by its behavior. These core organizational values must be identified as any plan that is inconsistent with existing core organizational values is unlikely to succeed.

HOW DOES ONE KNOW IF A VALUE IS REALLY A VALUE?

  1. It’s a collective belief organization-wide
  2. It determines the norms or standards of acceptable behavior as to “how to approach” your work.
  3. People know and care when the value isn’t operational.
  4. It’s an enduring value and one of the last thing you’ll give up.
  5. There are myths, rituals, and other stories to support its existence.

There can’t be very many like this. Core values are few in number.

pg. 36 Strategic Management Group: Ideal Future Vision

VISIONING IS A PROCESS THAT ENABLES US TO PUT ASIDE REASON TEMPORARILY AND LOOK BEYOND THE PRESENT TO THE FUTURE AS WE WOULD LIKE IT TO BE.

IT CAN’T BE DONE IS IRRELEVANT. HOW TO TURN A VISION INTO A REALITY IS SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS AFTER THE VISION IS CREATED.

A Vision Must Be:

  1. Leader initiated
  2. Shared and supported
  3. Comprehensive and detailed
  4. Positive and inspiring
    1. a reach
    2. a challenge

A phone in every home BELL TELEPHONE

An affordable car for every family FORD

A network that allows an entire company to communicate DEC

Number One or Number Two worldwide in our core businesses GE

A mission statement is a general description of what it is that a team is there to do; Its most basic reason(s) for its existence. This is its fundamental purpose–What we are about. Why we exist.

In terms of goals and objectives, a mission is more general, like a “desired” goal rather than a specific “performance” goal. It is generally of an indeterminate length of time and pursued in an ongoing basis. The mission is the “global reason for it being” which then requires the development of core strategies to provide the basic approach to carrying out this mission. It also leads then to the accomplishment of many specific goals and objectives.

THE MISSION IS A COMBINATION OF:

  1. what you feel it is desirable for you to do;
  2. what other peer organizations want you to do;
  3. what the corporate organization expects you to do;
  4. but finally, it becomes what you define as feasible to do.

A MISSION STATEMENT SHOULD BE:

  1. understandable
  2. brief and concise
  3. broad and continuing in nature, but not too broad as to be meaningless
  4. self-contained
  5. stated in output (results) terms rather than activities (inputs or through-puts)
  6. each word should be specific and purposeful
  7. realistic and feasible

Within the mission statement is the driving force(s) or thrust that is the essence of our existence.

pg. 29-30 Strategic Management Group: Ideal Future Vision

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