Putting it into practice
Next, let’s look at a few practical illustrations of values, vision and mission. While it’s not terribly important what words you use, it is important that you grasp the concepts.
Values will be stated in terms of beliefs or importance or passion. They will often be identified in yourself, but are easily seen in the character and actions of God throughout Scripture and in your life experiences. Examples might be a love for children, outrage at injustice, longing for intimacy, a strong faith in healing or deliverance, a desire to disciple or train others, a passion to see problems solved and distractions removed, etc. For example,"God is disappointed when He sees kids wasting their young lives; when He sees parents unable to pass on any sense of relevancy to their kids. He's saddened by parents who can't relate to their children; who don't know how to communicate with them and are afraid to try because of their own inadequacies." (Can you see all of these values in Scripture? Search deeply all that God says not only about parents and children as a topic, but what He says about HIS children, their identity and how He wants them to relate to Him).
Vision will likely depict a future that is changed by those values. Notice it is written in the present tense. God sees things that are not as though they are. Stating the vision in the present tense helps you, your employees, and all your constituents to think of it as a reality rather than a dream. Continuing with our example, “I see kids and parents in meaningful conversations with each other throughout the day. I hear parents who have the skills, knowledge and tools to interact with their kids in a way the kids can respect and look forward to. I see communication barriers created by the time demands on both kids and their parents broken down and made irrelevant.”
An example from God’s Word: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem…The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.” (Revelation 21:1-2;24-26)
Keep listening for God's Values and Vision until you begin to hear His bigger picture. He will put an awareness in you of the end results. You will hear His desire "to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free" (Luke 4:18). You will hear His heart that others "may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). You will hear His call to "religion...as pure and faultless [being] to look after orphans and widows in their distress" (James 1:27). You will hear the call "to seek and save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Do not be content until you hear God's plans and purposes for your community, your industry, your nation, because it is for this you and your business or organization are called.
You will know that it is not God's vision and values until you hear such things included. Why? Because it is the mission of Christ to "save the world" (John 12:47). Anything less, while praise-worthy and may be full of good works, is not transformation. It is not systems-changing as we see in Isaiah 61.
Mission will flow naturally out of the vision. Using the family communication vision, above, a mission might become: “Our company provides phone apps and software solutions that connect families in meaningful and timely communication. We create interactive opportunities for sharing values and building mutual accountability into family relationships.”
An example that marries God's vision and a corporate mission: “Guided and braced by the hand of God, our purpose as a group is both simple and enormously complex: To improve the quality of life in Africa through infrastructure development.” (Power Group, South Africa)
OFF, Opportunities for Faith, will sound like mini-vision statements and will lead naturally toward setting goals. In our family example, there might be several OFFs that sound like this:
- We have top-notch app developers for the major platforms
- Our software offerings are accepted and promoted by key education and church organizations
- We have a training program that is fun, productive for communication, and effective in selling
Goals become easy to develop from the OFFs. Goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART). You will likely have 1-2 goals for each OFF. They will sound something like this: (under OFF-1)
- Contract with 2 developers by August 1, covering i-Phone and Android platforms.
Strategies are simply statements of how you will approach your goals. There is usually only one strategy for each goal. They are the bridge between goals and action plans and will sound something like this:
- Network with known developers and get to know their different styles, and decide on hiring.
Action Plans, then are very specific steps for achieving the goals. They will include actions, persons responsible, resources, timelines, and, where relevant, milestones or accountability methods. There may be many action plans under each strategy.
- Marie to attend regional app developers conference, May 4-6
- Set aside $750 for entrance fees, hotel and lunches
- Arrange to have Tim cover the weekly staff meeting
- At conference, view and take notes on sample apps for the two platform
- Vet potential developers for attitude and match to our values
Now you have everything you need to launch your strategic planning event and work through the process. Use your own format or download the simple template we have developed.
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