(Originally published on OUBS Blog)
In 1973, Peter Drucker said: “That business purpose and business mission are so rarely given adequate thought is perhaps the most important cause of business frustration and failure.”
Two schools exist in relation to mission, one describing mission in terms of business strategy (What is our business and what should it be?) and one in terms of philosophy and ethics (to generate co-operation among employees through shared vvalues and standards of behaviour). It should be seen that it involves both hearts (culture) and minds (strategy) of employees.
The Ashridge mission model links strategy, values, purpose and behaviour standards.
Purpose can be to maximize wealth for the shareholders. Others believe it should be to satisfy all the stakeholders. A third group believes the purpose should be aimed towards a higher ideal, which is likely the most motivating for emplyees if they share that ideal.
Strategy defines the distinctive competence and competitive advantage the company has or plans to have.
Behaviour standards are the translation of purpose and strategy into policies and standards of action.
Values then are the beliefs and moral principles that lie behind the company’s culture.
A strong mission exists when the four elements of mission reinforce each other. A sense of mission comes up when the values of the individual and organisation match. Careful recruitment is essential here.