“It doesn’t really matter how fast you’re going if you’re heading in the wrong direction.” — Stephen Covey
It’s a new year and a fresh start. Now is a perfectly good time to establish what’s important for you or chart a new course.
To do so, we can use a strategic framework.
By figuring out our vision, values, and goals, we can figure out where we have conflict of interests or conflicts of values, we can figure out where to invest or de-invest our time, we can get a sense of whether we are on our path or not, and we can prioritize our time and energy in the things that matter the most to us.
Your Mission is Your Map
The most important thing is that when you have a map, it’s easier to deal with the set backs and to fight the good fights.
When you don’t even have a model, a map, or a path, then it’s hard to make meaning and even harder to balance work and life, because you have no gauges – it’s like flying blind.
With your mission as your map, your vision as the destination, and your values as your guide, you instantly have a way to center yourself and lead your life from the inside out.
Strategic Framework for Getting on Path
Here is a simple approach:
- Mission Statement – Your missions answers the question, “What’s the purpose?” or “What’s the job” or “Who are you?” or “What are you about?” Ideally, you have a differentiator.
- Vision statement – Now that you know the purpose, the vision answers, “Where do you want to go?”
- Values – Values help you prioritize and shape your actions. They answer the “Why.” They are what you care about. The more your work matches your values, the more enjoyment you will find.
- Strategies – Strategies are your approach. They guide your actions on your mission and toward your vision.
- Goals – Goals answer the question, “What do you want to accomplish?” A good away to make goals useful is to make them SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based.
- Action Plans – Action plans are simply lists of actions with completion dates.
- Tests for Success – These are your measures and metrics. Tests for success answer, “How will you know when you achieved it?” or “What does good look like?”
Example of Sketching Your Mission, Vision, and Values
Having a simple start is better than having nothing at all. You can also version and improve it down the line, as you get more clarity, so you can start with a sketch. Here is a quick start of a sketch using this blog as an example:
- Mission – Making the most of what you’ve got — Advancing the art and science of personal excellence.
- Vision – The world’s best source of principles, patterns, and practices for personal excellence.
- Values – Actionable. Relevant. Pragmatic. Effective.
- Strategies – Draw from the books, people, and quotes. Focus on proven practices. Share principles and patterns.
You get the idea. I would then test, tune, and prune the language. For example, does it resonate? Does it sing to my heart or is it still a bit off? By having something on paper, I can reflect on it and tune it over time. It’s an unfolding process. The next steps would then be setting some specific goals and re-shaping the strategies based on the goals. Then getting clarity on a vital few set of tests for success.
Best Books on Values, Vision, and Mission
- A Simple Statement, by Jamie Grady
- The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, by Stephen Covey
- What Matters Most: The Power of Living Your Values, by Hyrum Smith and Ken Blanchard