While a business must continually adapt to its competitive environment, there are certain core ideals that remain relatively steady and provide guidance in the process of strategic decision-making. These unchanging ideals form the business vision and are expressed in the company mission statement. In their 1996 article entitled Building Your Company's Vision, James Collins and Jerry Porras provided a framework for understanding business vision and articulating it in a mission statement. The mission statement communicates the firm's core ideology and visionary goals, generally consisting of the following three components: 1. Core values to which the firm is committed
2. Core purpose of the firm
3. Visionary goals the firm will pursue to fulfill its mission The firm's core values and purpose constitute its core ideology and remain relatively constant. They are independent of industry structure and the product life cycle. The core ideology is not created in a mission statement; rather, the mission statement is simply an expression of what already exists. The specific phrasing of the ideology may change with the times, but the underlying ideology remains constant. The three components of the business vision can be portrayed as follows:
|Core | | | |Core | | Values | | | |Purpose | | |[pic] | |[pic] | | | | |Business | | | | | |Vision | | | | | | | | | | | |[pic] | | | | | |Visionary | | | | | |Goals | | |
The core values are a few values (no more than five or so) that are central to the firm. Core values reflect the deeply held values of the organization and are independent of the current industry environment and management fads. One way to determine whether a value is a core value to ask whether it would continue to be supported if circumstances changed and caused it to be seen as a liability. If the answer is that it would be kept, then it is core value. Another way to determine which values are core is to imagine the firm moving into a totally different industry. The values that would be carried with it into the new industry are the core values of the firm. Core values will not change even if the industry in which the company operates changes. If the industry changes such that the core values are not appreciated, then the firm should seek new markets where its core values are viewed as an asset. For example, if innovation is a core value but then 10 years down the road innovation is no longer valued by the current customers, rather than change its values the firm should seek new markets where innovation is advantageous. The following are a few examples of values that some firms has chosen to be in their core: • excellent customer service
• pioneering technology
• social responsibility
The core purpose is the reason that the firm exists. This core purpose is expressed in a carefully formulated mission statement. Like the core values, the core purpose is relatively unchanging and for many firms endures for decades or even centuries. This purpose sets the firm apart from other firms in its industry and sets the direction in which the firm will proceed. The core purpose is an idealistic reason for being. While firms exist to earn a profit, the profit motive should not be highlighted in the mission statement since it provides little direction to the firm's employees. What is more important is how the firm will earn its profit since the "how" is what defines the...