Robert Spector, breAnne O. Reeves

If “vision” embodies the head of your organization, and “mission” personifies the heart, then “values” symbolize the soul.

Susan Fowler

It is true: business must make a profit to sustain itself. But it is an illogical leap to conclude that profit is therefore the purpose of business. You need air to live, plus water and food. But the purpose of your life is not to breathe, eat, and drink. Your purpose is richer and more profound than basic survival.

Ken Favaro

Corporate executives often conflate strategy with vision, mission, purpose, plans, or goals. Although these elements may help to focus, inspire, mobilize, and challenge an organization, they are not substitutes for a logical, articulated strategy, and they often lead to helter-skelter corporate development.

David K. Hurst

The “scientific model” of management, as Warren Bennis and Jim O’Toole called it, emphasized conceptual knowledge and tools and techniques – what Greek philosophers would have called episteme and techne. It was assumed that organizations could be studied by detached “objective” observers and that management science could be “values-free” – just like the natural sciences. More generally this scientific model has resulted in a misanthropic … [ Read more ]

Philippe de Woot

Can we define the purpose of business only in terms of economic and technological progress? It is interesting to note that in Western myths all the heroes who are catalysts of material progress are doomed: Prometheus, the entrepreneur; Vulcan, the engineer; Ulysses and Jason, the creators of markets; and even Icarus, the hero of the ill-considered risk and abortive progress.

Mitch McCrimmon

All organizations have two objectives: to manage today’s business profitably and to create the future through innovation.

Ricardo Semler

It’s so easy for people to hide behind a mission statement, to follow the military model—to go there, find, and destroy. Why? That’s not a question to be asked. In the end, a mission statement is reductionist: If this is my mission, then everything else is not. Even more so a credo. When you say, That’s the way we do things around here, that signals … [ Read more ]

Bill Shireman

The old mechanistic Fortune 500 belief [is] that the mission of the company is to maximize profits. That’s backward: We don’t run our businesses to make a profit—we make a profit to run our businesses. Great companies have an overriding sense of vision and purpose, a mission that is enabled by profit. For them, profits are a means, not an end. Companies without a seething … [ Read more ]

Charles Handy

The interesting thing about organizations is that they can make the assumption that they’re never going to die. And the reason that you stay immortal is you have discovered what’s unique about you. The job of the leader is to work that out. To express it. Very few leaders succeed in doing this. I ask a lot of leaders of organizations what it’s all about. … [ Read more ]

Colin Powell

People ask me, Where did your leadership training come from? I am sometimes reluctant to admit that everything I did in 35 years in the service I learned as a brand new second lieutenant.

I was taught to think about mission and people.

Mission. What are you trying to accomplish? Don’t do anything until you know what the mission is. Drilled into our hearts and into our … [ Read more ]

Heidi Neck

Entrepreneurs often talk about the importance of identifying a mission that is likely to stay consistent even while the scope changes as the venture grows, as customers engage with it, and as it is influenced by the ecosystem. Developing a mission and guiding vision that is malleable enough to accommodate and even anticipate inevitable pivots is critical for success. All ideas change, and entrepreneurs need … [ Read more ]

Roy M. Spence

Here’s the thing: In every corporation and every politician, in every university, in every country, sooner or later, you get envy. You’re struggling, and you see another organization in your space. And the tendency—if you don’t have a purpose that you can articulate—is to strike out on a mission to become a worse them. Purpose says: “Wait a minute; stop it; if we try to … [ Read more ]

Gary Hamel

Most companies strive to maximize shareholder wealth—a goal that is inadequate in many respects. As an emotional catalyst, wealth maximization lacks the power to fully mobilize human energies. It’s an insufficient defense when people question the legitimacy of corporate power. And it’s not specific or compelling enough to spur renewal.

Seymour Tilles

If you ask young men what they want to accomplish by the time they are 40, the answers you get fall into two distinct categories. There are those—the great majority—who will respond in terms of what they want to have. This is especially true of graduate students of business administration. There are some men, however, who will answer in terms of the kind of men … [ Read more ]

Konosuke Matsushita

There would be no strength in relying on the teachings of others without a basic capacity for self-reliance. To rely upon the strength and resources of others without a firm purpose of one’s own is a sign of weakness.

Paul B. Thornton

Without mission, there’s no purpose. Without vision, there’s no destination. Without values, there are no guiding principles.

Frances Hesselbein, Peter Senge

Peter Senge told us, “Mission instills the passion and patience for the long journey.” If we can summon both the passion to pursue that journey and the patience to stop for travelers we meet along the way, our organizations will be well served indeed.

Frances Hesselbein

Pursuing a mission without achieving results is dispiriting; achieving results without a mission is meaningless.

Roy Spence

People get confused between purpose, mission statements, and vision. “Mission” is basically how you execute your purpose, and vision is a statement of how you see the world after you’ve done your purpose and mission.

But purpose is the deepest river: You start with “What difference are you trying to make?” Your tactics will change, your ads will change, your mission might too, but your purpose … [ Read more ]

Nikos Mourkogiannis

When no clear moral purpose is articulated, a company acquires a de facto amoral purpose: expediency. It becomes the kind of company that professes, “We are here only to make money.” This can be very successful in the short run, but companies without a clear moral purpose cannot endure; they do not survive the changes they will face in their markets or business environments. Even … [ Read more ]