Corporate Vision. Mission and Business Goals – Why you need to understand them


How often have you got into your car to embark upon a journey without knowing where your destination is? Probably not very often, if ever.

How often have you set off on your journey without having looked at a road map or planned the route? My guess is more often than you care to admit.  The problem is that as you near the destination you become confused and uncertain about exactly how to get there, or where exactly are you now in relation to where you want to be.

It reminds of a cartoon (below) I saw some years ago. 


Cartoon Mrs Moses wandering in desert

The caption stated “After 39½ years of wandering in the desert, Mrs Moses secretly asks for directions”.

You don’t have 40 years, let alone 40 months or 40 weeks to know where you are going in business. 

There is plenty of research showing that companies with a vision and mission, and clearly defined strategic business objectives / goals, who communicate them down through their organisation, consistently outperform those companies that don’t – by almost every metric including employee satisfaction and retention.

So knowing your company’s vision, mission and strategic business objectives are an essential first step towards realigning your training programmes and priorities because it allows you to ask questions such as:-

  • Is this training programme relevant to our vision, mission and/or business objectives?
  • How does this training programme help the company achieve its vision, mission and/or business objectives?

It enables your L&D team to ask Business Unit (BU) and Departmental managers to articulate the vision and mission, and how what their BU / department do is aligned to and supports the achievement of the business objectives.  If manager struggles to articulate this then chances are they don’t know what training programmes / interventions are most important to their needs.

When preparing a training department business plan, one of the activities I recommend you conduct is to map the corporate vision and mission to the training department objectives, to determine how well the training department is aligned to them.  This aids the teams’ focus on what the training priorities will be, and keeps everyone alert to situations where training need requests diverge from the business objectives.  It will also give team members the confidence to question requests and ask for a justfication as to what business benefit is expected from this training intervention.

As a case in point, nearly 6 in 101 executives state that building organisational capabilities is a top-three priority for their companies, however only 33%1 of companies focus their training programmes on building these capabilities and three-quarters1 of executives don’t think their companies are good at building the capability that is most important.

So it will come as no surprise that 93%2 of senior training executives expect training to be more aligned with business objectives by becoming more strategic rather than operational in focus. 

1IDC – “A look ahead at Learning in 2012”

2McKinsey Global Survey – Building Organisational Capabilities 2010