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Mission, vision and values - it’s just corporate bullsh*t isn’t it?

By David Beesley

Mission, vision and values - it’s just corporate bullsh*t isn’t it?

Is having a mission, vision and values important for business growth?

It’s been heard that sometimes I can be a bit too direct and perhaps don’t sugarcoat a situation. In my experience, this has been both a help and a hindrance as my career has developed. 

So when it was put to me that I should create a mission statement, a vision and values for ITPR, my initial reaction was something along the lines of, “We don’t need that kind of corporate bullsh*t. We’re an agile PR consultancy, everyone knows their job and we’re all decent people - so let’s just crack on!” 

However, after spending two years studying corporate communications in detail, researching best practices and constantly asking everyone I know whether their business has a mission, vision and values I have come to realise that they are integral to long-term growth, productivity and success - and let’s be honest, the financial bottom line of a business. 

Here, I hope to gather my learnings and offer some free advice. Spoiler alert! They’re worth it! 

Look to the future and define your vision
When I first started studying the importance of having a mission, vision and values I was under the [false] impression that a mission and vision are essentially the same thing. A grandiose statement that is meant to provide some sort of meaning as to why you are doing what you do. 

However, I have come to understand that a vision for a business can be more than a grandiose statement. It should look ahead and outline the desired future state or long-term aspirations of the organisation. More corporate speak, so let me try and give a couple of examples. Here is one from Microsoft…

"To create a computer on every desk and in every home."

This was credited to Bill Gates who very succinctly outlined his vision. With the benefit of hindsight, we can say that Bill realised the vision of Microsoft. 

Here’s another…

"To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind."

A bit more grandiose than Microsoft, and this vision was provided by Apple's co-founder Steve Jobs and considering how Apple has evolved its products outside of computers, its contribution to the world has certainly been significant. 

Either way, defining a vision for your business is a method to nail down the overarching goal - what’s the big picture here? Once this is defined then it [should] give everyone from front-line employees, middle management, senior leadership all the way up to C-Level execs and board members a compelling image of what the business aims to achieve. 

Why you should give your team a purpose
Whether you know it or not, your business has a purpose and you have already (knowingly or unknowingly) bought into this purpose by agreeing to work for it. Now, you might not agree with the purpose 100% - but you agree with it enough to do your job to a certain standard. If standards are slipping, however, it might be because you are not engaged with what the business is trying to achieve or do not believe in its purpose.  

By having a purpose (some might say… a mission) you begin to align team members with the strategic objectives of the business. By aligning their work with the company mission, a business has a ‘North Star’ to follow. This collective ambition brings people together and brings a certain level of meaning to even the most mundane of tasks.  

It is the responsibility of business leaders to communicate that purpose (mission) so that employees can understand their impact on the purpose and define a sense of ‘why’. Why are we doing things a certain way? Why is my job important? Why does the customer/ client choose us over someone else? Why do I have to work late today? Why? Why? Why?

Having a clear sense of purpose in your work makes your work rewarding/ fulfilling. Without it, a team can lack direction and end up floundering in ambiguity. With it, a team can drive the business forward.

The value of having Values in your business
The values of a business come from the top right? The leaders of the business set the tone. Some people say Steve Jobs was a charismatic leader. Perhaps the same might be said of Richard Branson who is known for his flamboyance and generosity to his employees. But your business doesn't have to have a charismatic leader - look at the leader of X, Tesla and SpaceX for example. 

Corporate values will be a decision that comes from the top, but they also require input from the rest of the business to make sure that everyone is aware of them and that they ring true throughout. Successful businesses often have a set of values that resonate with their internal culture and external stakeholders. Businesses that struggle are those with a juxtaposition between the leaders and the rest of the employees - I refer back to my example of the leader of X. 

Where values do have… value… is that they become the performance benchmark. They are the rules of engagement to how employees should conduct themselves and if they are not aligned with the values - then there is a good chance that their performance will be off too. 

Well-established company values become the very fabric of ethical behaviour in a business and determine what is, and what isn’t acceptable. They shape the culture of a business, they should influence decisions. They are more than basic principles; they are the corporate identity of a business. 

How does having a Mission, Vision and Values make a business successful?
A mission, vision and a set of values are what will make your business unique in a very crowded industry, it will make your business enjoyable to work for the people who share the values and who are brought into the mission and vision - and it will weed out those who aren’t. 

Having a team or workforce which knows that performing their role to the best of their ability will have a positive impact on the overarching mission will mean the business is operating in its most efficient manner. This applies whether your business is three people or 30,000 people. 

We believe in this at ITPR, so much so that we are not just talking the talk, we are walking the walk. 

ITPR’s vision is…to change how B2B tech PR is perceived, measured and valued, proving that PR can directly impact business growth. 

ITPR’s mission is…to help like-minded B2B tech brands fulfil their growth potential through engaging and measurable PR.

ITPR’s Values are… Impact, Trust, People and Reputation. You can read more about our values here. 

Our values are now crucially important to how we operate and are central to any decisions we make for the business and our clients. 


Tags: News, PR, Digital PR, ITPR