In this ‘How to IT Strategy’ Newsletter we will discuss how to nail down your IT Strategy Vision and Mission statements, why it’s a good thing to do and techniques we can use to help come up with good ones :)
Nailing a Vision and Mission statement for your strategy is a valuable thing to do for a number of reasons:
- It helps encapsulate your understanding of what your team and strategy is meant to achieve in a way that is recognisable and meaningful to both your team and your stakeholders
- It can help provide something for your team to rally around
- It helps both you and your team focus and prioritise during your strategy execution e.g. Does what we’re doing here align with our mission? Does what we’re doing help us achieve our vision?
There are hundreds and thousands of articles online about Vision and Mission statements, I don’t want to really add to that noise, so this Newsletter will just focus on some simple, pragmatic techniques of nailing the troublesome jelly of competing influences and demands on your mission and vision to your strategic wall.
What is a Mission and what is a Vision?
What is a mission statement? Ultimately a Mission statement needs to answer the question “Why does your team and strategy exist?” Mission statements:
- Are based in the present
- Convey why the Team and Strategy exist
- Focuses on satisfying business and stakeholder needs
Your vision should answer the question“What are your team and strategy going to achieve?” The Vision should be:
- Future focused
- Free of jargon
The key challenges when creating Mission and Vision statements are:
- Avoiding tying yourself up in buzzwords so you end up with Strategy Madlibs
- Creating something that is authentic, relatable and meaningful
- Boiling down 1000 influences, drivers and stakeholder concerns into very short statements
- Making a strong enough statement that’s the right balance of scary/aspirational and achievable
Here are a few techniques that i have found useful when creating Mission and Vision statements, we go into these in more detail in my upcoming ‘How to IT Strategy’ Course, which you can sign up for early access here
I’ve used the Cover Story ‘Gamestorming’ technique a lot in sessions to help a team think about what they want to achieve as a team, what that would look and sound like and how others might perceive it.
There are some key questions you can answer to help you identify both your mission and vision statements:
- Why does your IT team exist?
- Why does your organisation exist?
- What are the problems you are trying to solve?
- What are your key services and capabilities?
- What purpose do they serve?
- Who is your work serving?
- What goals are you trying to reach in 1-5 years?
Once you are happy with your answers to the questions above you can use them to help craft your Vision statement. There is a simple 2 step process you can use to do this:
- In 2 sentences, without revealing how, what is your IT team trying to accomplish?
- Revise what you’ve written so i can fit into 140 characters, this is your Vision statement.
Referring back to your answers to the questions above you can use a really simple template that you can use to create a Mission statement:
Our mission is to [Impact] for [Audience/stakeholders] by [Actions]
Or you could use a slightly expanded template such as:
The [Team name] exists to deliver [Key IT objectives] in order to help achieve [key business benefits and/or objectives]. We provide/deliver [Key services] and [key services] according to [strategic principles]. Our strategy will [key IT strategic themes] by [key elements of strategic approach].
In this ‘How to IT Strategy’ Newsletter we’ve discussed the value of defining Vision and Mission statements, what they are, some of the challenges to overcome when creating them and some simple techniques to help overcome those challenges. We cover this area in more detail in my upcoming ‘How to IT Strategy’ course which you can sign up to now for notification of early access here
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