Intent guides Action; Mission guides Vision

There has always been a classical debate on what comes first. Whether it is the Mission or Vision. I have never been able to understand this debate. Because, it has been crystal clear to me all along.

Intent means an identified Purpose. This should relate to our living. In a corporate context you might term this as “Mission”. Vision on the other hand relates to a Strategy which demands action and results. It must be visible and measurably achieved.

The reason why this debate needs to be brought up again is  to understand the problems that businesses the world over face today. There is no dearth for action and the organizations are all spinning like hampsters on a wheel. Yet, the actions seem to defeat the overall purpose for which an enterprise might have been established in the first place. It is important to note here that the economic definition of mission in the context of a business enterprise is “the fundamental economic reason / purpose“.

Purpose allows one to reach and discover the inner self – what one truly wants to be. And that defines the multiple steps  moving towards that purpose. When one is drawn inward with a clear understanding of the external environment consisting of the Markets, Customers and Competition, it enables to develop foresight against the insight that is drawn continuously. It must be understood that Insight is a composite enterprise view impacting actions for an enterprise business rather than intelligence that is employed for transactional benefits. Both are important and have a place in their respective spheres. The trouble is, they are often confused and mistaken for one another. If you want further proof, all you need to do is examine the companies that were proclaimed just two years ago as the most progressive companies of the world and have fallen by the wayside today.

Intent is never static either. Except that, its canvas and scope and cycle may be different to the Vision whose cycle is shorter, faster and dramatic in comparison. This is where Leadership and Management fuse together to build and institutionalize an enterprise. Which brings us to the key question – How does Institutionalization take place? Before the “How” is asked, it is more important to know the “what”.

Culture which is defined as “Values, Beliefs and Assumptions” is what gets institutionalized and essentially aims at unifying diversity into a single cohesive and united energy force that can fuel the mission and vision of an enterprise.

About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
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