Understand the link between mission, strategy and impact

Before deliberating on the importance of aligning the mission and strategy of an organisation with impact, it is important to briefly define each of these terms.

The mission of an organisation is its purpose of existence, and its vision is where the organisation wants to be in the future, based on its goals. An organisation’s strategy is an outline of the organisation’s direction, scope and tactics over a period of time.

The strategy guides the business, enabling it to assemble and use resources effectively and efficiently while circumventing challenges and exploiting opportunities. In other words, the strategy is the roadmap for achieving the vision of an entrepreneurial venture.

The relationship between mission, strategy and impact

Aligning mission, strategy and impact is a process for an entrepreneurial venture.

Mission can be termed as the start of the process; it outlines the impact the venture wants to make, whereas the strategy is the operationalisation of a venture’s mission (Ormiston and Seymour 2011: 132).

Once the venture outlines its mission, sub-objectives that will enhance the achievement of the mission are then charted. Following a clear description of the objectives of the organisation, a strategy is crafted. The strategy entails the tactics, tools, activities, and resources (human, financial and physical) that are needed over a period of time to enable the achievement of the mission.

During the crafting of the strategy, the impact the venture wants to make – including when and how it will be measured – is developed in line with the mission.

Depending on the period outlined by the organisation for the evaluation of its performance, actual performance is measured against planned performance. If there are any deviations from the plan, or if performance is below target, this is fed into the venture and necessary improvements are made. These changes are also reflected in the mission/objectives and strategy of the venture.

In essence, aligning mission, strategy and impact enhances the systematic design, implementation, evaluation and learning of an organisation (Bart, Bontias and Taggar 2001). As a result, the relationship between mission, strategy and impact should be seen as a dynamic and continually-reviewed process, rather than a linear one (McAdam and Bailie 2002). The figure below shows the relationship between the three factors.

A cycle with Strategy leading to Measuring impact, which leads to Entrepreneurial adjustment, which leads to mission and objectives, which leads back to strategy. The cycle could begin at any point. There is an additional arrow leading from Entrepreneurial adjustment to strategy, illustrating a one-way relationship between those two nodes. (Ormiston and Seymour 2011: 131)

Everything an entrepreneur does should be coordinated and integrated in order to achieve targets and to optimise the usage of the resources available, which may be scarce. Therefore, it should be analysed whether impact measurement is indeed informing whether the mission and strategy is on the road to success.

Your task

Now that you have read the article, share your ideas on how the mission and strategy can be aligned with impact in entrepreneurial organisations.

To help frame your response, you may wish to use a real-life organisation, either your own or one that you know well.


References

Bart, C.K., Bontis, N. and Taggar, S. (2001) ‘A Model of the Impact of Mission Statements on Firm Performance’. Management Decision 39 (1), 19-35

McAdam, R. and Bailie, B. (2002) ‘Business Performance Measures and Alignment Impact on Strategy: The Role of Business Improvement Models’. International Journal of Operations & Production Management 22 (9), 972-996

Ormiston, J. and Seymour, R. (2011) ‘Understanding Value Creation in Social Entrepreneurship: The Importance of Aligning Mission, Strategy and Impact Measurement’. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship 2 (2), 125-150

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This article is from the free online course:

Measuring Entrepreneurial Impact

Coventry University