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Powerful Mission and Vision Statements: The Why, What and How

Andy Epstein

Andy Epstein   Dec. 31, 2019   Culture

A previous post deconstructed the in-house agency (IHA) Value Proposition, documented its benefits, and expounded on its importance. Equally critical to the success of an in-house agency are the team’s Mission and Vision Statements.

The Why Behind Mission and Vision Statements
Like a strong value proposition, Mission and Value Statements help define not only the purpose of an in-house agency, but also how it contributes to the larger organization’s achievements. In other words, these declarations should help guide the behaviors, and even the beliefs and attitudes, of your team.

Mission and Vision Statements are not just nice to have—they are absolutely necessary if teams are to strategically evolve and best meet the company’s needs and mandates. They will impact how the IHA hires, develops and directs its staff members. Without clearly defined goals, values and objectives, as expressed through Mission and Vision Statements, the IHA team will remain a reactive entity—always trying to catch up with the greater company’s growth.

The What of Mission and Vision Statements
While an IHA’s Mission and Vision Statements should align with the greater corporate objectives, goals and values, they should also reflect the unique culture of collaboration, creativity and customer service that are critical to an IHA’s success. In its most basic form, the vision is the where the IHA needs to go and who it should be, and the mission helps navigate how the IHA will get there. The vision and mission also help define who the team should not be, and paths that shouldn’t be used in the pursuit of growth.

The Mission and Vision Statements are not necessarily all about change, though. Hopefully they reflect many inherent attitudes and behaviors that are already supporting the team’s mission and vision, even though the statements haven’t yet been articulated. Agency leadership should hold onto and expand on those ways of working.

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The Who Behind Mission and Vision Statements

The creation of these vital statements should not be an exercise where leadership, managers and a few other IHA team members draft, refine and approve the team’s Mission and Vision. It’s vital for the input process to include key stakeholders among the agency’s clients, internal staff, external partners, leadership team and individual contributors. Not only will the variety of perspectives make for richer and more accurate writing, the broad multifaceted participation will produce the upfront buy-in needed to bring the Mission and Vision Statements to life.

In addition, there should be a rigorous plan for communicating with those not directly involved in establishing the Mission and Vision. Identify and engage key influencers in various groups to help ensure a positive reception, understanding and adoption of the statements. Be sure to bake in frequent touchpoints as the rollout plan is developed. It should be executed in an engaging and inspiring manner that includes soliciting feedback and keeping the team apprised as progress is being made.

The How of Mission and Vision Statements
Once it’s determined who will be involved in writing the IHA’s statements, a helpful way to begin the process is with a framework on which to base collective thoughts, ideas and recommendations. Here are some definitions and generic examples of Mission and Vision Statements that can serve as a good starting point.

  • Mission Statement Definition
    A brief statement of the organization’s fundamental purpose: “Why do we exist?”
    Functional purpose + Why we exist + How we achieve it
  • Mission Statement Example
    Creative Services serves as a trusted advisor for business units and internal organizations to help support profitable business growth through creative, impactful and cost-effective marketing and communications solutions that assist in building the “NewCo” company brand.
  • Vision Statement Definition
    This is a bold and ambitious statement of the organization’s desired future state. It answers the question, “Where do we want to go?”.
    time frame + desired future state + how to achieve it
  • Vision Statement Example
    Within three years, Creative Services will be the creative source of choice for all business units, helping them exceed business goals by providing industry-leading marketing solutions that differentiate the NewCo company brand and deeply engage their target audiences.

The Implementation of Mission and Vision Statements
It’s not enough to just send out emails and put up posters that communicate the new Mission and Vision Statements once they’re finalized. They need to be integrated into the company’s hiring process, staff reviews and awards program(s). Job candidates should be given a clear idea of the group culture they may be joining (and recruiters should be looking for a good culture fit). Team members should be held accountable for embracing the values and mind-set espoused by the statements. And staff should be rewarded for readily adopting the goals and values of the Mission and Vision.

With all the fires an IHA must address on a daily basis, creating unique Mission and Vision Statements is often placed on the back burner. Yet defining and accepting these fundamental beliefs can help extinguish those very fires. Just allow a reasonable amount of time, seek out appropriate advocates for the initiative, and proceed knowing that the end result will reward the entire group with more control over their destiny. Achieving this goal is well worth the effort.

If your IHA needs guidance and assistance in creating Mission and Vision Statements, please contact us for more information. We have worked with many teams and are happy to help.

 

 


Andy Epstein

Andy Epstein is an industry thought leader in the field of in-house creative. He currently serves as the Director of Studio Operations for Cella Solutions where he has oversight of the managed in-house agencies run by Cella. Andy has written and spoken extensively on in-house issues and published “The Corporate Creative,” a book on in-house design in the spring of 2010. He is a co-founder of InSource, the former Programming Director for the InHOWse Managers Conference, and a key member of Cella’s professional development team. Andy is focused on empowering in-house teams to raise their stature in the design and business communities.

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