HomeOpinion & AnalysisImportance of mission, values

Importance of mission, values


THERE is no organisation worth its name without a mission statement and specific core values that it adheres to.

If the future is a map, then a company’s mission statement, vision and core values constitute its compass.

For anyone to do something or commit to some goal or aim, they have to experience a calling of some sort to do the same.

Those without a calling cannot live a life which is larger than them. One thing which is certain about life is the inter-generational and contemporaneous dimensions. Since life is by nature like a relay, the only way in which we can touch future generations in a significant way is by transmitting our values to them.

Most companies fail to survive the grind of time because of failure by their visionaries or founders to craft a clear mission statement and adhere to a solid set of core values.

This article endeavours to proffer a simplified explanation of the meaning of a mission statement.

The term mission statement is actually a phrase which is made up of mission and statement.

A mission refers to a burning or ruling passion. A mission can also be defined as an over-arching goal of an individual, firm and organisation.

Mission statements tend to encapsulate the key ideas pertaining to a cause, objective or goal that stimulate and propel the visionary or visionaries of an organisation to engage in those actions that characterise them.

Usually a mission statement arises in a person as a response to a societal need or problem which one believes they are in a position to meet or satisfy.

Unlike company goals or objectives, a mission statement is all-encompassing and is usually stated in general terms whilst resonating with one main goal that the firm desires to achieve. It is impossible to divorce a company’s mission statement from its goals because a mission is an overall goal or a set of goals.

Examples of mission statement of Fortune 500 companies include the following: Citigroup’s mission statement states that “Our goal for Citigroup is to be the most respected global financial services company. Like any other public company, we’re obligated to deliver profits and growth to our shareholders. Of equal importance is to deliver those profits and generate growth responsibly.”

IBM’s mission statement declares that their main intention is “operating a safe and secure government”.

Microsoft Corporation declares: “At Microsoft, we work to help people and businesses throughout the world realise their full potential. This is our mission. Everything we do reflects this mission and the values that make it possible.”

Econet Wireless mission is “To serve Zimbabwe by pioneering, developing and sustaining, reliable, efficient and high-quality telecommunications of uncompromising world-class standards and ethics.”

The fact that all successful firms and organisations have simple, specific and powerful mission statements that guide their activities implies that there is no organisation on earth that can do anything worthwhile without a clearly defined mission statement.

A mission statement does not operate in isolation.

It is usually complemented by a precise vision and a set of core values that also guide or inspire an organisation’s actions.

A vision is what the mind or heart of a man sees as the future state of an organisation and its stakeholders or community.

It is impossible to achieve any goal without first visualising it in the mind or heart.

The human mind has got eyes which are infinitely more powerful than optical eyes.

When a person who is a visionary contemplates on a situation or problem, the human mind creates images and arguments whose singular goal is to counteract, eradicate or ameliorate the problem.

If the images and arguments created by the mind against a problem or problems are stated in writing, they can be easily distilled into a vision which can capture the imagination, energies and commitment of others in society. This is how visions come into existence and are disseminated to those who run with them.

Core values are the ethics or cherished principles that inspire the actions of a person or an organisation. Common core values that characterise many organisations include integrity, professionalism, dependability, reliability, loyalty, commitment, open-mindedness, consistency, honesty, efficiency, innovativeness, humour, adventure, optimism, courage, positivity, inspiration and respect.

The article next week will interrogate why some firms or organisations fail despite having lofty mission statements, visions and core values.

 Ian Ndlovu is an economist based at the National University of Science and Technology skilled in data analysis using SPSS, Gretl, Stata, Eviews and Microsoft Excel software packages. His research interests cover business, development, economic and e-commerce issues. He writes in his personal capacity.

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