James Collins and Jerry Porras, authors of Built to Last, have also observed the presence of “core ideology” in visionary companies. Their research indicates that “authenticity of the ideology and the extent to which a company attains consistent alignment with the ideology counts more than the content of the ideology.”
In other words, a coherent and authentic unifying idea that transcends the profit motive and serves as a touchstone in all organizational decision making is the vital ingredient in the most effective corporate cultures. Many CEOs sense this intuitively, but are uncertain as to go about creating a set of core statements.
Leaders first need to stop confusing ideology with mission and vision. Most companies are ostensibly organized around a mission; they hang their raison d’être on a mission statement.
The best companies are animated by a Purpose. A Purpose is a lasting theme, an architecture that supports the transformation of the greater environment. By definition, missions and visions are directives that flow from the central Purpose. Ultimately, they all flow to the Brand Positioning and lives through the brand internally and externally.
At BrandingBusiness, this is how we define and construct Core Statements:
Purpose. It’s WHY we exist. Purpose is bigger than any business goal. When an organization has a clear purpose, it attracts talented personnel, strategic alliances and loyal customers.
Vision. It’s WHAT we aim to achieve. A clear vision is a depiction of a desired result that motivates, energizes and helps an organization describe its destination.
Mission. It’s HOW we plan to achieve our vision. A good mission statement determines the best path to achieve the vision.
Values. It’s what we stand for and HOW WE BEHAVE. Values are the traits and qualities that shape daily actions with other employees, customers or suppliers. These values shape corporate culture when they become deeply held and high priorities.
Brand Positioning. It’s HOW we DIFFERENTIATE from our competitors. Typically crafted at the end of a brand strategy process, this statement clarifies our unique value proposition to our primary audiences and our point of distinction relative to competitors.
We believe that when an entire organization clarifies, understands and lives each of these core statements, they have a significantly improved probability for success—both short-term and long-term.