Monday, August 31, 2009

Turnaround Plans - Mission and Vision Statements

Many companies undertake turnaround execution without an in-depth, thought-out plan. They start with the realization that they have to cut costs to survive and they do so either aggressively or worse, tentatively. Tentative cost cutting just prolongs the process and speeds the downhill slide to out of business. But both are detrimental to the company’s health.

We write often about having a plan. We also recommend that in the development of that plan, companies start with a review of their Mission and Vision Statements. This is forgotten by 91% of companies in their turnaround activities according to recent studies. Yet this is the guiding star for direction setting and use in creating the strategic business plan that will successfully direct the turnaround efforts, as well as the rise again, once the economy improves.

The Mission Statement is a brief statement of the purpose of an organization or company. It outlines the organization's broad reason for existing; what it does and for whom. It tells you what the company is today. A mission statement should say who you are, what you do, what you stand for and why you do it. It is not a slogan, goal, business plan or public relations piece.

Mission Statement examples:
• "Provide society with superior products and services by developing innovations and solutions that improve the quality of life and satisfy customer needs and to provide employees with meaningful work and advancement opportunities and investors with a superior rate of return." - Merck
• "To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential." - Microsoft
• "Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." - Google

The Vision Statement outlines what a company wants to be, where the organization hopes to go and it provides clear decision-making criteria. It concentrates on the future. It is a source of inspiration; its dream. The best ones are direct and powerful. Try to relay somewhere in your statement that you understand the future of your business depends on delivering increasing value and quality to your customers, accounts and clients. This delivers a clear message of your priorities.

Vision Statement examples:
• “To experience the emotion of competition, winning and crushing competitors.” - Nike
• “To make people happy.” – Walt Disney
• “To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people.” – Wal-Mart
• “To solve unsolved problems innovatively.” – 3M

In today’s world, many ask about time frames for both of these statements particularly in turnaround situations. The answer is that the statements can hold true for many years and continue to provide guidance. Clearly, the plans that will flow from these statements have to be adjusted on a much shorter time frame to reflect current opportunities and challenges.

Why are these important?

First, they set the direction. If you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there. Turnarounds are about focus, - focus on direction and focus on plan elements and resource utilization. These statements provide the guidance.

Second, despite the well publized loss of employee and company loyalty in the market today, people are not motivated by dollars alone. They want to work in organizations that inspire them and cause them to feel good about what they do at the end of the day. These statements should provide inspiration and motivation.

Third, it keeps the company grounded in values and not every day exigencies. It will make your life simpler and will help keep away the firefighting.

If you do not have Mission and Vision Statements for your company or are not using them in your turnaround efforts, let us know. We can help you.



John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management

View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

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