Getting started on the right foot with your company’s purpose, vision, mission and core values.

Defining the agenda that drives your company’s direction is one of the most-important steps any leader can take toward ensuring success for the long haul. Organizational guideposts such as purpose, vision, mission and core values will be at the heart of every decision and ultimately drive your employees’ commitment to achieving the results you desire, trickling down to business processes and daily operations. Don’t leave your company’s identity to chance… unify efforts behind clearly defined objectives, seeded in well-considered and well-developed strategies that are anchored in your defining statements. Starting with purposes, vision, mission, and core values is essential to building your organization’s bedrock.

Let’s start with a few definitions…


A single statement that defines the reason for your company’s existence – beyond making a profit. It illustrates how your product or service positively impacts the people you serve.


A company vision statement reveals, at the highest levels, what an organization most hopes to be and achieve in the long term. It can be lofty and brings together all stakeholders.


A mission statement is defined as an action-based statement that declares the purpose of an organization and how they serve their customers. This sometimes includes a description of the company, what it does, and its objectives.

Core Values:

A company’s core values are the clearly stated principles about the organization’s vision, mission, and principles, and unifies everyone around a guiding philosophy to serve employees, customers and the broader community.

The combined result of these statements and principles is the fundamental DNA of a company’s identity. All are geared toward higher aspirations for the organization and together make up the culture.

Building Purpose:

A purpose statement is all about setting expectations, both within and outside your organization. It serves as a guide for decisions, including everything from how you produce your products to how you celebrate your organization in materials and outreach.

Like the other guiding statements above, your customers must be at the core of your purpose and they will be more-strongly-connected to your organization as a result. Research shows that a growing number of consumers focus on an organization’s purpose as the reason they choose products and services. Keeping them at the center will pay dividends in the long run.

Beyond your customers, creating and communicating a clear purpose is important because it;

  • Distinguishes your business from your competitors
  • Helps to guide all aspects of your business toward your goals
  • Builds and informs a strong culture within your organization

Defining and writing a Purpose Statement is a cinch… but shouldn’t be taken lightly. It requires leadership and stakeholders to possess a deep understanding of the company’s existence and where they want to go in the long term. Here are a few steps that you can take to help direct the process of creating your company’s unique purpose statement…

  • Define what your company/organization does

– What particular problem do you solve for your customers/clients

  • Define what inspires the work your company does
  • Articulate the values that your company stands on/for
  • Build your draft, but as you progress, a few important things to keep in mind…
  1. Keep it short (1-2 sentences)
  2. Be really specific
  3. Keep it simple and easy to understand
  4. Think big… and keep things aspirational

Like all important documents and processes, it will be important to ensure that you get feedback and ALWAYS leave room for your future growth and development.

Vision Statement

The primary purpose of a vision statement is to provide an easy, future-based way for stakeholders (mainly employees) to understand and commit to the meaning and purpose of your company. Unlike the more factual and present-based mission statement, your organizational vision describes the long-term results that you’re hoping to achieve. And, above all else, it is meant to inspire.

How to write a vision statement

Your vision statement can be easily built by answering a few questions about your organization. These responses, once honed can serve as the backbone for your aspirational vision statement:

  • What impact do you want to have on your industry, community and the larger world?
  • In what ways will your company interact and engage with customers?
  • What will the culture of your business look and feel like, and how will it be realized by your employees and stakeholders?

Answering these questions will provide a basic map for building your company’s vision statement. It is important to think and dream big – think of your present existence and where you want to be in the future.

Mission Statement

As defined above, a company’s mission statement articulates its reason for existing. Beyond making a profit, a mission defines the most important priorities for the organization.

A mission statement is designed to answer the big questions of; what, how, and why? In answering these questions most organizations weave a common “30,000 foot” goal that energizes employees, motivates high performance, while shaping great behavior and culture.

A company mission should do three things:

  1. State what the company does.
  2. List its top values.
  3. Offer the main goal accomplished when the company successfully fulfills its mission.

Here are a few things to consider as you begin building your company’s mission statement:

  • Focus on the “big picture”
  • Leave lots of room for inspiration
  • Allow the passion and unique “personality” of your organization to shine through
  • Less is more – – keep it simple (anything from a couple sentences to a paragraph)
  • Steer clear of business “jargon”
  • Make it distinctive (how are your different from your competitors)

Core Values for the Win!

Your organizations core values are something to be proud of, stand behind, and celebrate as far and wide as possible. The defining statements, such as vision, purpose, and mission are just that… statements. Without the connection to clear organizational values, your company is essentially rudderless.

Once your values are clearly articulated, communicating them (both internally and externally) become incredibly important. Getting buy-in from your employees and stakeholders is just half the battle… allowing your customers/clients to feel and experience your values is essential to preserving loyalty.

As defined above, a company’s core values are the clearly stated principles about the organization’s vision, mission, and principles, and unifies everyone around a guiding philosophy to serve employees, customers and the broader community.

Garnering these values can be a unifying experience for your company’s stakeholders, bringing everyone together behind your guiding statements and really connecting to the core (heart) of what makes your company distinctive and the best-choice for customers. Speaking of customers, don’t forget to utilize them as a value asset to help you shape your organizations values.

It is important to not under-estimate the value of clearly defined and communicated guiding statements and values. Through this process, everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them, and everyone becomes more-strongly aligned with the strong principles of your company/organization.