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How to articulate uniqueness and measure success
Published on October 30, 2022 8 min
Other Talks in the Series: Introduction to Strategic Management
Greetings. I'm Jeremy Short, the G. Brint Ryan Chair in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Management at the University of North Texas. I'm here to speak with you today about how do organizations articulate their uniqueness and measure their success? This is a function of using vision statements, mission statements, and setting their goals effectively.
I've always liked the quote by J. D. Salinger, the author of Catcher in the Rye. He mentions, "I think that one of these days, you're going to have to find out where you want to go. And then you've got to start going there." In many ways, vision mission statements help you set your course and then goals help you measure your progress.
A vision statement often looks at something that organizations might almost view as unattainable. I think about the classic golf movie, Tin Cup, where the main character talks about a perfect golf swing being something unattainable and in many cases, vision statements strive to such perfection. For example, the vision statement of Google is to develop the perfect search engine. Other examples include Avon, to be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service, and self-fulfillment needs of women globally.
In contrast to a vision statement, a mission statement is more about what an organization is doing right now. For example, Starbucks strives to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time. It always has been and always will be about quality. Mission statements should help articulate what a business does, what an organization does that's different from their competitors. It might not be the most important thing in the world to know what your mission statement is, some organizations value that and they have employees memorize their mission statements. Others do not. But what is important is, can the organization for their customers, for their suppliers, for other stakeholders, can it be seen as unique from competitors? You might not know the mission statements of Federal Express or UPS, or a particular postal service. Can you articulate how they're different? They serve different needs in some meaningful way. Ideally, a mission statement in a greater concept behind that of uniqueness, helps understand for individuals and for the organization these kinds of differences.