Vision, Mission & Values

Vision, Mission & Values

Guiding Question: Do we know why we are working together?

Content provided by University of St.Gallen, Institute of Technology Management

Your team will face many challenges in the upcoming months and years. To master these challenges, a strong bond and alignment within the team is essential.

This can (partly) be achieved by defining a common vision, mission as well as common values. However, this is not a one-off task – once defined (with the aim of long-term impact), they need to be regularly reflected upon after certain time or events (based on actual implementation).

The following sub-chapters tries to guide you through the process(es) providing details about each step.

🔖 Contents on this page:

A strong and pragmatic framework to define the vision, mission and value statements of a startup is the following (following Kirkpatrick, 2016):

👁️ Vision (WHY)

"The idealistic, timeless dream"

  • Formal description of the organisation’s desired, long-term future state. (2)
  • Explains why a company exists, which kind of positive impact the team is aiming at
  • Creates shared meaning/understanding among team members, inspiration, motivation, attraction
  • Form: statement

💪 Mission (WHAT)

"The realistic long-term goal"

  • Defines the products or services provided to customers or constituents. (2)
  • Can include perspectives of various stakeholder
  • "We do X to achieve Y"
  • Form: statement

❤️‍🔥 Values (HOW)

"The desired character of a company"

  • Define the means or behaviours by which the organisation will go about attaining its vision. (2)
  • The rules of the game: what is (not) acceptable behaviour? (‼️ Does not provide the path - that’s in the Strategy: explains how the mission and vision will be carried out)
  • Shown by promoted employees
  • Form: list / behavioral statement
Attributes of impactful vision/mission statements (see Glossary below for definitions)

👉 How to: The process

There are initial thoughts/statements in any company!

Usually, companies are on one of the following five development stages: (2)

Stage 1: The uncommunicated statement(s)
Stage 2: The unstated, yet implemented statement(s)
Stage 3: The formally stated statement(s)
Stage 4: The refined statement(s)
Stage 5: Re-examined statement(s)

Depending on the quality of your previous efforts and your current stage, decide yourself where to enter the following ideal 4-step process (2, MGR):

1. Develop
2. Communicate
3. Implement
4. Re-examine
The communication (step 2), implementation (step 3) and regular re-examination (step 4) of the statements is an iterative process that requires time and resources. Many companies neglect step 2-4 and get lost in the daily hustle and bustle. However, these steps are crucial in order to create the aforementioned bond and alignment within a company. Without them, the initial development is almost useless. So create a 'purpose-focused routine' and make the re-examination of the statements a fixed part of regular meetings, such as OKR planning sessions.

📖 Examples from other companies


🛠️ Glossary of guiding principles


The extent to which the vision statement is understood by employees


Future focus

Describing the desired future (not current) state


Abstractness & challenge

Providing a non-concrete, difficult yet achievable future



Portraying a highly desirable future



Providing a succinct, easy-to-remember statement



Describing how the organization differentiates itself from other organizations, including its products and services, markets, strategy, or company history


Success definition

Stating how the company measures its progress in achieving the desirable future


📚 Additional Resources