Mission & Vision
Strategic decision-making should start with a clear idea of your company's mission and vision – the reasons you exist as a business. Your business may be dedicated to providing environmental solutions, or you may simply want to make as much money as possible. Either way, if you know what you want over the long term, you'll be better positioned to infuse these aims and principles into your daily decisions. Start by writing your mission and your vision.
This statement can be as simple or complex as you wish, depending on the degree of formality you use in your everyday business decisions as you run your company. Even if your mission is only one sentence – the act of thinking about and articulating this sentence will help you develop a better idea of what you want. Having this written statement will also enable you to communicate your long-term vision to your employees and to other stakeholders, to get them on board with the strategic decisions you make.
Long-term goals are the concrete embodiment of your mission and vision. A vision is an idea, and long-term goals are expressions of how these ideas play out – with milestones and real-world objectives. These goals are critical to the strategic decision-making process, because they guide your choices, and provide measurable and quantifiable ways to assess whether you are successfully aligning your company's direction with the values you've articulated to guide your business.
If your business designs environmentally friendly technologies, you might create a long-term goal of wanting to be carbon-neutral within five years. With this goal in mind, you'll then make strategic decisions aimed at reducing your carbon footprint during that time.
It's easy to lose sight of the strategic decision-making process when you're focusing on short-term goals and decisions that concern day-to-day activities and issues. Short-term goals and decisions usually relate to immediate needs, such as improving cash flow so that you can cover outstanding bills. Despite the immediacy and urgency of these goals, your strategic decision-making process should still enable you to proceed with an eye toward both your vision and your longer term objectives.
If your values are centered around sustainability, and your company's official car dies, it would be more consistent with your mission to finance a fuel-efficient replacement than to buy a cheap gas guzzler.
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