Of all the things you have to attend to in your business, these three statements—your mission, vision, and company values—may not exactly be at the top of your list. In a realm that demands objective facts, concrete details, and data, these statements may feel abstract and conceptual; and you may feel unclear about how to describe the principles your business abides by… or more, what they’ll even do for your business.
On the other hand, maybe you already know what your mission, vision, and values are… after all, you live them daily. So why go through the hassle of writing them down? What’s the value-add of documenting them? What benefits can they possibly bring to your business? We’re glad you asked:
They simplify decision-making
When your priorities are down on paper (or on your website, or in your internal communications hub), all future decisions can be made based on which solution most closely aligns with your mission and values… and brings you that much closer to fulfilling your vision. You’ll more quickly rule out opportunities that don’t support or advance your “big picture” vision, which means fewer wasted resources on endeavors that would only bring you out of alignment. And because everyone is looking in the same direction? That means fewer (or no!) disputes about best solutions.
What’s more, in prioritizing what matters most to your organization, you clarify the metrics of “success” and “failure.” If your decisions are made in alignment with your mission, vision, and values, they can feel rewarding even when they aren’t the most lucrative. This gives your business a purpose-before-numbers mindset… and as counter-intuitive as that might seem, it means bigger profits from more delighted customers in the long run.
They unite and motivate your team
Studies have shown that organizations with clearly-defined, well-communicated, and collectively-shared mission and vision statements outperform those that don’t have them. It’s worth considering this alongside the fact that—according to Dale Carnegie—only 29% of the workforce is fully engaged in their work. A clear mission and vision helps employees see the larger cause they’re working toward, and—importantly—how their job contributes to achieving it. It gives them purpose and a sense of ownership over the outcome, allowing them to see beyond the myopia of the day-to-day grind. This drives employee engagement, productivity, and retention.
They help you control your brand
Even if you are living by your unwritten mission, vision, and values every day, you run the risk of those things being misinterpreted by your market if you don’t give customers the language to describe what your purpose, ideals, and beliefs are. What’s more, your employees will have to explain these things in their own words each time they’re asked—which will mean a hundred different missions floating around out there, diluting your brand and its perception. There will be things about your brand that you don’t have control over; don’t let this be one of them.
They attract the right employees and customers (and foster loyalty among them)
Job-seekers who see your mission, vision, and values on your careers page—and who resonate with them—will be all the more likely to apply, while those who don’t share your values or vision of the future will be deterred. Potential recruits will know what’s expected of them from the beginning… which means talent retention will improve. On the customer end, studies have shown that company ethics affect buying behavior… and of course, if your core values are clear, your ethics are likely to be as well.
That’s a lot of benefits for a little bit of work to document what you’re already up to, what you already prioritize, and what you already believe in. So set a day aside and gather your team for an all-hands meeting to write these statements together. After all, what better way to be a values-first company than by inviting full transparency and alignment in the very creation of your values statements?