Mission Vision and Values


Sun on the Horizon West Cumbria, (c) Simon Harris

Sun on the Horizon West Cumbria, (c) Simon Harris

This is an attempt at delivering the most ‘bang’ in the fewest words.

There are a million and one ways to define Mission,  Values and Vision.
Mostly M, V & V leave people disengaged, confused, un-helped;
that’s a real travesty.

A major failing because they are important CONCEPTs that align effort on achievement.

Forget which word means what; that’s a nugatory argument.

Here is “A” not “the” definition. However I recommend it. Which ever you chose, share a definition and then use it consistently for ever more.

  • Mission is the enduring reason we look towards the horizon. It uses phrases like “Improve the state of the art”. It’s the journey not the destination.
  • Values are the preferences we share in our culture that shape our decisions. Words such as ‘Bold’ or ‘Cautious’ phrases like ‘No harm’ or ‘no unnecessary harm’ carry nuances without absolutes. Values guide experts make novel domain decisions.
  • Vision describes a target and is ephemeral. Target destinations were once on the horizon but we get closer to them every day because our shared actions advance toward them. As we reach milestones our gaze transfers to milestones still ahead and still relevant in today’s context.

Market-place plus Mission, Values and Leadership creates a steady stream of Visions to be delivered by our shared efforts and resources

Cascading a meaningful, situational interpretation of Mission is the duty of the organisation’s leaders at all levels. Values belong to all of us; their reinforcement is by the actions of leaders at all levels. Vision is enable by those with authority to direct. Vision is delivered by those with relevant abilities. Worthwhile Targets may be identified by anyone anywhere at anytime. The RTO vs CTO* decisions of portfolio management should be the responsive mechanism that maximises delivery of Mission and Values

Now we have the basis to distinguish Accountability and Responsibility. That will be another post, as will the essentials of portfolio management.


RTO = Run the Organization, CTO = Change the Organization RTO vs CTO = prioritizing today’s use of resources versus tomorrow’s flow of benefits

Run the Organisation versus Change the Organisation - Competing demands in tension (c) Simon Harris

Business must balance resource usage aimed at operations with resource usage aimed at coping with change

Click the image for details

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