So here’s the perennial trick question, “what came first, the chicken or the egg?”
The trick is that there’s no trick, the egg came first, but what hatched was a different chicken.
Ok, I’m not going to delve further into evolutionary biology, as I’m simply using that question as a segue to asking, out of the handful of clichéd terms such as vision, mission, aim, purpose, goal, and values, what comes first, that is, what begets what?
Is it important to know such things? Yes! Cause, effect, and consequences are important. As is, using words consistently and correctly, and this requires us to not assume we know what words mean. To further my understanding, I am always diving into dictionaries to find the official meanings of words.
In my post Values, Vision, Purpose, Strategy, and Mission I explore the dictionary definitions, not mine or those of my social media influencers, of common terms, and with those definitions develop a causal sequence.
My claim is that we all have values. Nice people as well as the most heinous people who have ever existed and those who still do, have values.
Leaving aside the discussion of the merits of certain values, from values we can’t help but develop a vision of the world, that is, how we would like to see it, as in a vision of the future.
To achieve our vision of the future, whether we can do it by ourselves or not, we create an organisation with a purpose. Ideally, we attract people such as staff and customers, who share our values, vision, and buy into our purpose, and repel those that don’t.
To achieve our organizational purpose, we develop strategies, and it is through missions, that we achieve those strategies.
When building a house, the integrity of the whole is dependent on the integrity of the- land, ground works, foundations, frame works, and everything that is layered on top of what went prior. The same is true for concepts such as values, vision, purpose, strategy, and mission.
It’s hardly authentic and doesn’t demonstrate integrity for an organisation to embark on a mission and for the sake of its image, and as an after-thought, sprinkle a few trite and cliched terms as values on a poster in the lobby much like you would season a well-dead fish.
For ease of understanding, implementation, and for the integrity of the whole, there must exist conceptual as well as causal integrity from start to finish in everything we proclaim and do.