Mission & Values

The nature of a business is often expressed in terms of its mission, which indicates the purposes of the business, for example, “to design, develop, manufacture and market specific product lines for sale on the basis of certain features to meet the identified needs of specified customer groups via certain distribution channels in particular geographic areas.”

A statement along these lines indicates what the business is about and is infinitely clearer than saying, for instance, “we’re in electronics” or worse still, “we are in business to make money” (assuming that the business is not a mint!). Also, some people confuse mission statements with value statements (see below). The former should be very hard-nosed while the latter can deal with softer issues surrounding the business. The following table contrasts mission and values mission statements.

Mission

  • What the business is/does
  • Primary products/services
  • Key processes & technologies
  • Main customer groups
  • Primary markets/segments
  • Principal channels/outlets

Values

  • Reason for existence
  • Competitive advantages
  • Unique/distinctive features
  • Important philosophical / social issues
  • Image, quality, style, standards
  • Stakeholder concerns

Compare the following statements:

Mission Statement

X Corp. designs, develops, assembles and markets systems for data base management. These systems integrate its proprietary operating system software with hardware supplied by major manufacturers, and are sold to small, medium and large-sized companies for a range of business applications. Its systems are distinguished by a sophisticated operating system, which permits use without trained data-processing personnel.

Values Statement

Our first priority is to enhance our customers’ business by providing the very highest quality products and services possible. Our customer support strategy is based upon total, no-compromise customer satisfaction and we continually strive to offer a complete package of up-to-date value added solutions to meet our customers’ needs. We value above all our long term customer relations.

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