Learnings from the Fortune 500 - Vision, Mission, Values

Oct 14, 2021
Learnings from the Fortune 500 - Vision, Mission, Values

I’ve heard these questions more than a few times … what is the difference between vision, mission and values?  And do you need all three?

Let’s answer the second question first – yes!   They have different purposes.  

Back to the first question.  The mission is a clear statement of your reason for existence.  The vision is an aspirational statement of what you want to achieve.  Values define your identity and guide all of your company’s actions.

Here are a few examples ...  

Apple‘s Vision

To make the best products on earth, and to leave the world better than we found it. 

Disney’s Mission

The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.

Tesla’s Values

Always do your best.  No forecast is perfect, but try anyway.  Respect and encourage people.  Always be learning.  Respect the environment.



Honesty time.   

As a 20-year Disney Cast Member, did I have the Disney mission statement memorized?  Nope.  But I knew some of the key phrases … creativity, innovation, technology.  

I also knew that we had a balanced focus on Cast, Guest and the business results.  I knew that if we focused on taking care of our Cast, they would take great care of our Guests and the business results would follow.

I also knew the importance of Safety, Courtesy, Show Efficiency.  These were all priorities – but they were in that order for a reason.  If you had to make a decision you would consider each of these factors in this order.  Safety always always always comes first.  

While at GE there was a code of conduct called the Spirit and the Letter.  I’ve always liked that phrase “the spirit and letter”.  To me it means – you know what is SAYS (the letter), but you also know what it MEANS (the spirit). 

Connecting my GE experience back to my time at Disney, I couldn’t recite the mission statement (the letter) but I understood the importance of innovation, creativity and technology (the spirit).  


I promised a few quick wins.  While there is nothing quick about establishing your company's vision, mission and values - these tips can quickly get you started.  



Guidelines for writing your vision

  • Think about where you want to be in 10 years.
  • Focus on results, what does success look like.
  • Not a time for buzz words, be clear and succinct.
  • Stretch – dream big.  Remember … aspirational.
  • Evoke emotion, show your passion
  • Include what makes you unique and different.
  • Consider within context of mission and values



Components for a mission statement

  • The Target Market – Who is the audience for your product and/ or service?
  • Your Contribution – What are the products and/or services that your business offers?
  • Differentiator – How are your products and/or services unique and why should your customers purchase from you and not your competitors.



An approach for establishing values.

  • Have each member of your leadership team consider the most impactful employees in your organization.  Make a list of the characteristics that makes them the best of the best.  
  • Consolidate into one list.  Eliminate duplicates.  Review as a team.  
  • Strike thru those that you don’t have agreement on.  Circle those that you agree on.
  • Debate.  Get to a list of about 5 – a few more, a few less is OK.  

Now it’s time to see how well they age.  They should stand the test of time.  They should not be based on the flavor of the month.  Go away for 30 days, come back as a team and revisit the list.  

If you still agree with the values you established, it's time to communicate to the organization.  

If you no longer agree with the list, get back to the larger list and begin the debate again.  


What's Next? 

Your vision, mission and core values need to be shared with the organization.  They should be built into your hiring, training, performance management and recognition processes.  They should be consistently reinforced by leadership at all levels of the organization.  When it comes to values, you have to hire employees that are aligned with your organization's values, and you have to let go of those that aren't.  


This work is intense.  

This is best done in a dedicated work session, free from distractions and facilitated by someone not on the leadership team.   Using an objective resource that is savvy and can navigate the politics of the group will improve the quality of your results.     


This work is foundational.  

Your vision, mission and values become filters for decision making in your organization.


This work is an investment.  

While there may be changes to your vision, mission and values as your business evolves – they are intended to stand the test of time.  Put in the time it takes, give it the effort it requires.  


More to come in future blogs as we continue to look at learnings from Fortune 500 companies.   We’ll talk having the right people in the right roles, a clear understanding about the difference between customer experience and customer satisfaction, a laser focus on your employee experience, and a calculated approach to risk taking.  Without these – you could sabotage all the effort you put into building your competitive advantage and positioning yourself as a market leader. 

Are you excited to dive in to this work, or maybe you’ve started this work and it’s not progressed as expected?  If you’d like someone with experience to come along side you to lay this foundation for your business, let’s jump on a complimentary call


Click here to schedule a free Level Up: Scale Your Business call so that we can co-create a customized plan to scale your business using lessons from Fortune 500 companies.


About Me:  I'm Heather Havey and being an integrator is in my DNA.  My consulting business helps visionary leaders bring their big ideas to implemented reality.   I’m passionate about efficiency and business transformation, and I will empower you to accelerate the achievement of your big goals.   I offer customized, no-nonsense, real-world solutions designed to position you as the hero in the reinvention of your business.    

Check out options for how we may be able to work together at https://www.heatherhaveyconsulting.com/services .  

And if you think you could benefit from having an expert partner with real-world, action-oriented change solutions that will absolutely work, let’s chat.  In your free strategy session, we’ll get those ideas out of the clouds and onto the road to results.  Schedule a complimentary strategy session to talk about bringing your vision to life.


Want to stay in touch by receiving tips, tools and updates directly to your inbox?

Sign up below to join my community!

As a bonus you’ll receive my free guide 20 Power Questions That Create a Compelling Story to Engage the Hearts and Minds of Your Organization. With this tool you’ll gain the confidence to communicate in a way that shapes thinking and converts skeptics in to supporters.