Defining a mission or purpose should be a starting point in business strategy formulation. It gives people working on a project a set of objectives they can relate to and be committed to. Christopher Cox, the Vice president of product at Facebook was the person behind the development of Facebook’s mission, values and people strategy.
Facebook’s mission is ‘To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected’ (Facebook’s official website) It was edited in 2008, prior to that it stated ‘Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.’ This change in Facebook’s mission statement reflect Levitt’s theory (1960) that every company should ask itself the fundamental questions to define its business purpose: 1. What business are we in?
2. What business do we want to be in? (Hooley et. al. 2011) When the company first started it was simply a communication tool but it gradually developed to be more than that. It wanted to give people control over what they share and how they share it. Facebook empowered its users. It also changed its focus by being more open and allowing people beyond the Ivy Leagues to join the site.(www.observer.com)
Hooley et. al. discuss the elements that make up an effective mission statement. It should be focused around following elements:
1. Strategic intent- vision of what you want to be. Facebook’s mission clearly states what it is that the company wants to achieve , that is to open up the world and connect everyone. But it does not provide details of fundamental things like which market it operates in , how big it wants to be, geographical scope etc 2. Company values- guiding principles. These are detailed on the company’s website (see below). They do not appear in the mission statement. 3. Core skills –distinctive competencies of the organisation. It should clearly state what differentiates the organisation from...