August 28, 2020|Kim's Blog, Strategy|

I have prepared a short (8 minute) video on Strategy basics – Mission and vision statements with hedgehogs and helicopters.


Hi, I’m Kim Tasso

Today we are going to delve into mission and vision statements with helicopters and hedgehogs. We are going to think about why we are in business and how those ideas will help us drive strategy development. So you’ll get a couple of techniques to put into practice.

What are mission and vision statements?

Mission is the reason why the organisation was created. Why do we exist? What is our purpose? And what sets our business apart from the rest of the competition?

Vision is the envisioned future – the challenges to overcome. Where our business aims to go or to become in the future

You can see behind me that my light box shows the word WHY? – Simon Sinek’s famous golden circle said that too many businesses focus on what they do and why they do it. When really they need to focus on WHY they do it.

So why are you in business? Obviously, you want to make money – but business owners usually have other reasons for taking all the risks to set up and grow a business. What’s your reason? Why are you in business?

Why do we need mission and vision statements?

Many strategy experts talk about the need for a guiding North Star to guide the business and shape each day-to-day operational decision. To keep the business moving in the right direction. And to engage all the staff and stakeholders in that journey.

Some example vision and mission statements

BBC – To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.

Tesla – Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy

LinkedIn – Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.

Disney – To entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company

Developing a mission and vision

Articulating your mission and vision is a core part of any strategy development.

Some people adopt a technique to understand the

  • Head (rational)
  • Heart (emotional)
  • Soul (spiritual) – Younger generations are particularly keen to see the social good of their organisations – how you contribute to important big issues such as social responsibility, equal opportunity, sustainability or climate change

Another method uses a hedgehog

Developing a vision is discussed in the fabulous book by Jim Collins called “Good to great”. He suggested you try to develop a BHAG – A Big Hairy Audacious Goal, I like to think of that as hedgehog.

He suggests that your BHAG or your mission is at the intersection of three things:

  1. What drives your economic engine? (rational, financial)
  2. What you are deeply passionate about? (emotional)
  3. What you can be best in the world at? (differentiation and stretch)

And onto strategy development

There are many definitions of strategy and guidance on developing a strategy – take a look at the many blogs I have written following strategy workshops.

Sometimes the definitions include the words war or campaigns or choice or competitive advantage.

There’s usually some systematic analysis (you might check out a recent video on onions and pestles on this topic ) to look at the internal and external environment – to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) and a core challenge to overcome. Then the strategy addresses that core issue.

So here is my helicopter to help us with a strategy definition

“A strategy is a planned framework for action – it must be a crystal clear route map, taken from a helicopter perspective”

The process of developing a strategy (1. Where are we now? 2. Where do we want to be? 3. How will we get there?) is examined further in a blog on developing a business plan.

 More recently there was a definition of strategy from Insead that I liked: “The purpose of strategy is to steer companies towards sustainable sources of growth and profit”. And I think the helicopter still works as a good way to think about steering the business forwards towards sustainable growth and profit.

So. Use the BHAG or hedgehog to think about why you are in business – your mission – and then use your helicopter to rise above the day-to-day stuff to examine your environment and future horizons and see your vision of the future where your business is heading

Thank you for watching and listening.

Some other articles on mission, vision and strategy development

Strategy in a post-Covid world  (July 2020)

Why do you need a business plan?  (March 2020)

Improve your strategic thinking  (June 2020)

Strategic thinking – audits, assumptions and alignment  (March 2018)

Growing a surveyors practice – the golden rules (including vision)  (February 2017)

Change management and employee engagement  (April 2019)

Sailing as a metaphor for strategy (November 2016)

Business strategy (Evans) book review (August 2014)

Business strategy (Sola and Couturier) book review  (August 2014)

Strategy basics – Mintzberg  (April 2013)

Strategy and scenario planning  (September 2012)

Blue ocean strategy  (September 2011)

There are also many posts on marketing strategy – please use the search