How to synchronize the language leaders use in strategy setting and business planning.

Terms commonly used in strategy setting and business planing mean different things to different people. A crisp common definition of key terms makes it easier for a leadership team to create and communicate organization in strategy setting and business planning. Assuming everyone has the same definition in mind leads to confusion…it is better to be explicit.

The following definitions have served many organizations well:

PURPOSE: Why the organization exists; lasts as long as the organization is around.

VISION: How leaders plan for the organization to be some time, generally years, in the future. Often best expressed in terms of where the organization was in the past, where it is now, and where it is headed. Updated annually but does not change radically except in extreme circumstances.

MISSION or BIG (Hairy-Audacious) GOAL: What the organization aims to accomplish by when; lasts until accomplished or until it no longer makes sense relative to other options; at which point it is replaced with a new one.

WHAT-WHO-WHY: WHAT problem the organization solves for WHO and WHY customers buy.

STRATEGY: How leaders plan to deploy and direct people and other resources to:

        • do what the organization does
        • create demand for what it does
        • achieve scale

or DO-SELL-GROW, so as to win the game it is playing (see: other strategy-related terms).

BRAND: What the organization is known for doing.

CULTURE: How things work and get done in the organization. Evolves slowly. Leaders are wise to consciously guide cultural evolution in specific ways or it will evolve on its own.

VALUES: Beliefs that shape behavior; e.g.: results are more important and valued more than effort.

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