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Strategic Planning, Phase 1: Determine Your Mission, Vision, and Values

A mission, vision, and values in a strategic plan can sound abstract, esoteric, and downright fluffy to a lot of people. However, they’re important to building a strong foundation of consensus for your organization. Take the time to articulate these elements on the front end so you have a crystal clear strategic direction, and you’ll be more successful when writing goals and objectives.

To efficiently move through this phase, don’t confuse mission and vision. Mission is a statement about your core purpose (why you exist) and is best stated in the present tense. Vision is a statement about your desired state (where you want to go) and is best stated in the future tense.

Although you may find values interspersed throughout both your mission and vision, an effective values statement clearly delineates the guiding principles of your organization (how you want your staff to behave and interact).

Because these three statements are foundational to an effective plan, take the time you and your team need to get them right. However, don’t get stuck on being a wordsmith and lose momentum in your planning process; rather focus on intent and allow the statements to be drafts until everyone is comfortable stamping them final.

The duration of this phase is estimated at two weeks. During this time, you answer these business questions:

  • Who are we and why do we exist?

  • Where are we going and why?

  • What are the strategic topics and issues we need to address through this process?

  • What is already determined that we need to build off of?

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