The business vision is presented in the mission statement and is made up of 3 sections: core values, core purpose and visionary goals. These components are created prior to the mission statement and are critical to the organization. Core values and purpose are similar and make up the ideology of the organization. These are realistic components that guide all aspects of the organization. In contrast, the visionary goals are “lofty objectives” that may only have a chance of being achieved.  

Crafting Your Business Vision

The first aspects of the ideology of the organization are the core values. These values represent what is the most important to the organization. Values are unchanging, whether the circumstances change or not. A great example of a core value is “excellent customer service”. This would be a consistent value within an organization no matter what they are doing. A retail store may follow this value with their front line customers, and if this retail store evolves to be an online business focusing only on business clients, they will still be able to provide excellent customer service. An organization should see their values as an asset and build their business behind it. If the business cannot support this value anymore, the business should evolve, not the value itself. A real-world example of core values would be with Best Buy, who's values are “Have fun while being the best. Learn from challenge and change. Show respect humility and integrity. Unleash the power of our people.”[2] As you can see, these values guide the business, but are vague enough that the business itself can change and still follow the values.

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The next aspect of the ideology of the organization is the core purpose. The core purpose is the “reason the firm exists”. This should be able to last as long as the organization as it is the reason for being. It is often a difficult statement to pin down and it can be developed further by continuing to ask why. If a core purpose seems too specific, asking why that it is necessary is a good way to refine it into the correct core purpose for the organization. The core purpose is based around the 'how' of getting to a goal, not the end result of it. An example of a core purpose is 3M, the company behind sticky notes and other office solutions, who's core purpose is “Solving Ordinary Problems Innovatively”[1]. This guides the development of every product or service that they provide, and is adaptable to different situations.

Then there are the visionary goals of the group. These are goals of varying specificity that may only have a 50% chance of being achieved, with time-lines of 10 years or more. These goals can fall under categories such as target, common enemy, role model, and internal transformation. The goals may target internal or external milestones and should be challenging from the onset.  

A major defining factor in these components is that core values and core purposes are discovered, while visionary goals are selected. Core values and core purposes are everlasting and guide the organization, while visionary goals are changeable and guided by the organization. Values and purposes never end, while a goal ends once it is met. New goals should be developed to replace old goals or the company risks stagnation.