Why does your business exist? What contributions does your business make – to society, your customers, your employees? Company leaders are always proud and protective of their mission – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. How? By making sure it resonates with your employees, and by making sure it’s unique – that a different company couldn’t take your mission and use it without changing a word.
What mountains are you looking to summit? Where do you want to get to in the longer term (often 3 years for small companies)? What’s on the edge of your horizon, that you are going toward? A vision is the chance for a leadership team to tell a compelling story for employees. Is there such a thing as a bad vision? No – having something is better than nothing. But there are ways to make your vision stronger – particularly making it align with market forces, and making it as specific as possible.
Your values make up your culture. What’s it like to work at your company? What do you value? What are the expectations and rules you have for your customers, employees, and partners?
These are the "big rocks". Strategic planning enables you to set priorities for your business. Sometimes that’s with an annual timeframe. Sometimes that’s at a quarterly cadence. In either case, strategic planning provides the tools and process to identify possible focus areas, and then to decide among them – because having more than 5 priorities is like having none at all.