Which way are we rowing?

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Recognizing the importance of a strong vision & mission statement

As we continued down the rabbit hole in search of underlying human capital problems within Company X, it became abundantly clear that they were unaware of their confused, misunderstood vision & mission. During the process of conducting Case Study 119, we found that the disconnect between what the employer thought was clear, and in fact what the employees truly understood, was astounding. Not only do we see this as an impediment to Company X, but find that most growth companies we work with struggle to construct their own vision and mission statements.

First, what are these statements, and what is the difference between the two? Holistically, these statements are the phrases used to explain direction and purpose within the company. They can successfully motivate the employee population when expressed the appropriate way, and propel a growth company ahead of the competition with ease.


This statement focuses on the purpose of the company, but with a desired future state in mind. The goals and aspirations of the company are clearly described in a concise, yet motivating way.


The mission also expresses a clear company purpose, but engages employees on current objectives. The main focus should revolve around WHAT it does; WHO it does it for; and HOW it does what it does.


Our client recognized the importance of a strong vision and mission, and thought they had accomplished just that. The reality of the situation was much different. It was clear that they were unaware of just how confusing their vision and mission statements really were. Both statements take on an important, yet distinctly different role as a component of the strategic company plan. Undeveloped statements can lead to many different company-wide struggles, such as:

  • Productivity issues due to lack of strategic plan definition
  • Lost opportunities for recruiting engagement
  • The triple C – Company Culture Confusion

Are your employees blind or is the vision a bit murky?

Last week, we shared shocking Case Study 119 results from the employee interview stage of our proprietary Talent Brand Audit system. During this stage, we purposely pick a cross section of generations and gender within the company, and unlike conventional beliefs, the responses were eerily similar. The general tone of our survey focused ondifferent-directions-two-businessmen-same-boat-rowing-against-each-other-not-moving-metaphor-effects-45064793 the direction of the company, more specifically, the employee populations understanding of shared vision. Below is a question pulled directly from our questionnaire:

Shared Vision – a sample question from our survey

To what extent do you have a clear understanding of the growth strategy for the company?

1          2          3          4          5          6

                    Not at all                                                   Very much so

Once calculated, only 2 of the 28 employees interviewed knew what the vision and mission statements were. Out of the two, neither had a clue what they actually were, and constructed, in their mind, what they thought the company values were. Can anyone see a problem here? As discussed above, these statements are supposed to serve as the “North Star” of the company. Guiding statements that act as a principle everyone can get behind. The general population of Company X had no idea where the company was going, and what their purpose was. Talk about a completely disengaged workforce.

Through our brain-based research, we’ve discovered an obvious connection between developed vision statements and strong talent brands. It’s not shocking to see that employees (and job seekers) are motivated the most when they know where they fit in. In the case of Company X, it’s hard to achieve this when their long, misguided statements leave employees scratching their heads. The nail in this proverbial coffin? The management team of Company X was very proud of their vision and mission statements, as they thought they were a great representation of the company. However, this was a case of looking good on paper, but not in practice. Once our team of experts shined the light on the issue, it became clear that the understanding of shared vision within the company stopped dead at their feet. It was time for a thought revolution with Company X.

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    • Visual and interactive media review (1 piece)
      • Review of Job postings, recruiting strategies, and job descriptions (1 of your choice)

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