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The style for vision and mission statements

As a strategic planning consultant and facilitator, I have helped many companies with strategy formulation and to write their vision and mission statements. It often takes hours because at a core, personal level, the boss or team are writing down who you are and what needs to be done, together. This website provides a comprehensive description of strategy formulation and the test of a well thought through strategy is how well the vision and mission statements explain it!

The best style that I have seen was Starbucks' 2004 version of a blended mission, vision statement on their website and SEC filings. Compare their current version to the 2004 example below, which will explain how the company is changing. It is quite a change.

In the mission and vision statements, use the active voice. The objective is to write concisely and clearly for the target audience and to include seven key components. Some components can be combined, less is more.

Using Starbucks' formal statement to the SEC as an example,    "Starbucks Corporation purchases and roasts high-quality whole bean coffees and sells them, along with ... primarily through Company-operated retail stores." That defines the business, the first three components are:

  • Who - Starbucks Corporation
  • What - purchases and roasts high-quality whole bean coffees and sells them, along with ...
  • How - primarily through Company-operated retail stores

In the mission statement to its customers, "Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow" the next two components are:

  • A promise to the customer - the premier purveyor of the finest coffee
  • The geographic focus - in the world

In their vision for their employees, "To establish Starbucks as the most recognized and respected brand in the world," the last two components are:

  • A goal that stretches - the most recognized and respected brand in the world
  • Sometimes you add a timeline, a goal to complete achieve the vision by a certain time.

The best strategy statements combine the essence of the business's purpose, mission and vision- clear, concise, direct. The next page is an example of the best I've seen - JFK's vision to go to the moon.

Less in More

I need to reinforce in the strongest terms that every MBA program, business magazine, leadership seminar teaches less is more. Strategy is powerful in its simplicity and its line of sight is to the key operations supervisors. Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials expect it, so do not be wordy.

This web site is designed to help your strategic planning team and to help you develop your "strategy skills" as you advance to senior leadership; less in more is one of those concepts you must master and employ.

Take a few minutes to check out the introduction at the process overview page to find other key concepts to master!

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