“The objective of a well-crafted strategy is not merely temporary competitive success and profits in the short run, but rather the sort of lasting success that can support growth and secure the company’s future over the long term.” (Thompson, et al., 2019 p. 5).

I recently had the opportunity to analyse the mission and value statements of my client, a micro-business quality management consultancy in Brisbane, QLD, and provide recommendations for an effective vision statement. I was also able to reflect on how my client could align their strategic objectives to their mission, vision and values to support their growth and better long-term success as part of my studies.

In this post I will share with you what I’ve discovered about their business so you might be able to get started on a business strategy for your business. Spoiler alert: This has come from and MBA Assessment piece – it’s pretty wordy, but you get the gist. Let’s dive in!

The Australian Human Services Sector consists of several markets including Education, Health Services, Aged Care, Disability Services, Social Housing, Child Protection, Corrective Services, and Job Services and is serviced by Government and Non-Government organisations. My client is a non-government quality management consultancy that commenced trading in 2013 as a micro-business. The business provides a quality management consulting service to multiple markets within the Human Services sector across Australia. It supports new and existing businesses to become registered, or maintain compliance, as National Disability Insurance Network (NDIS) providers. The gross earned revenue for my client is approximately $100,000 per annum.

The business is sub-contracted by other large non-government organisations that provide a range of auditing and consulting services to the Human Services sector. It is in direct competition with other non-government services such as PQ Plus, and indirectly with larger organisations such as Amergin and Provider Plus. My client has no desire to grow beyond a small business, happily stating that the business funds a very laidback and relaxed lifestyle that includes gardening, travel and eating great food.

In 2020, expenditure on Social Security and Welfare alone for these markets was estimated at over $180 Billion, compared to approximately $158 Billion in 2016, illustrating that there is increasing demand for additional providers in the Human Services sector.

A Productivity Commission inquiry into Human Services in 2016 examined “whether the efficiency and effectiveness of Human Services could be improved by introducing greater competition, contestability, and informed user choice” (Productivity Commission, 2016. P. 4). Since the publication of the report, there has been a significant increase in the number of non-Government services providing care to the community.

Analysis of Mission, Vision, and Values

The Mission

The mission statement was developed when the business commenced 8 years ago and hasn’t been reviewed since. It is “To provide quality management services to assist your business:

1.  identify the results that are important to them, and the ability to act on solutions;
2.  achieve quality control and assurance to assist in exceeding customer expectations; and
3.  have more time to do core business work, with less focus on administrative tasks.”

Thompson et al. explain that “A mission statement is intended to communicate a company’s identity and purpose. It should seek to differentiate itself from its competitors and clearly distinguish its purpose from others. Thompson et al. further explain that a company mission statement “(1) identifies the company’s products and/or services, (2) specifies the buyer needs that the company seeks to satisfy and the customer groups or markets that it serves, and (3) gives the company its own identity.” (Thompson, et al., 2019, p. 26).

This mission statement satisfies point (1) above because it identifies the product and /or services when it states that it will provide quality management services. The statement also satisfies point (2) when it goes on to say that it will assist businesses to achieve quality control and enable them to spend more time on core business work, with less focus on administrative tasks.

The mission statement fails to satisfy point (3) because it does not clearly indicate which customer groups it serves, for example, it does not specifically indicate that it serves new and existing NDIS providers in Australia. The statement also neglects to give the company its own identity because it doesn’t explain who the business is and why the business was established.

The mission statement would satisfy point 3 above by reframing the mission with the inclusion of its purpose (the ‘why’ for entering the industry) and introducing the type of client it serves within the industry in the opening sentence:

The purpose of [the business] is to provide a collaborative and caring Quality Management Service to all new and existing NDIS providers that will assist with: …

 The Vision

A strategic vision is part of the first stage of developing and executing a strategy. It assists with the formation of the future direction of the company and gives company managers guidance during the strategy making and execution process. It is therefore critical that a strategic vision be developed by my client before strategic objectives can be developed.

“Vision provides guidance about what core to preserve and what future to stimulate progress toward.” (Collins, 1996 p. 66).

The vision statement should be developed using key language to link the vision to the mission and values, for example:

“The [business] is dedicated to taking a caring, collaborative and impartial approach to work by expertly interpreting government guidelines and mapping them to business policies in partnership with clients.

The [business] is passionate about becoming an industry thought leader that can be relied upon for advice and assurance by all NDIS providers.”

The above vision statement is effective because it is graphic, forward-looking, focused, feasible and flexible. However, thought should be given to the length of the statement to ensure it is memorable.

The Values

“Most companies articulate four to eight core values … that are supposed to be mirrored in how the company conducts its business” (Thompson, et al., 2019 p. 27). My client has developed four core values:

1.  A work ethic based on integrity, honesty, and collaboration.
2.  A caring and collaborative approach to assisting businesses achieve the results that are the most important to them.
3.  A desire to assist businesses by working with them to develop individualised plans and solutions that best suit their needs.
4.  Independence and objectivity when reviewing your organisation, and a solutions-focused approach to improvement.

These core values are clearly an inward reflection of my client’s intention to act ethically and with due care. Articulating the core values more specifically towards NDIS providers will link the core values to the business’s mission, to provide clarity about who the business serves.

Thompson et al. state that “an organisation of any size with deliberate and purposeful values and high ethical standards will reduce the likelihood of lapses in ethical behaviour that can damage a company’s public image and put its financial performance … at risk” (Thompson, et al., 2019 p. 350).

My client requires a set of highly ethical values to conduct business with its clients to ensure its success in a sector that relies on high ethical and moral standards to support the community. 

Aligning Strategic Objectives with Mission, Vision, and Values

Strategy is a set of cohesive actions a business takes in the pursuit of success. Without a consistent strategy, businesses will face frustration, therefore there is no choice but to develop one (Lohr, 2020). A strategic objective is a performance objective that is industry/externally focused and will result in stronger long-term market position (Cox Edmondson, 2018 p. 52).

My client has not formally identified strategic objectives that align with their mission, vision, and values. However, objectives do exist informally, such as maintaining an income of $100,000 per annum and applying a broad, low-cost strategy to entice different types and sizes of NDIS providers to the business. Business objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) to accurately track a company’s performance (Thompson, et al., 2019 p. 30). Applying these concepts, three strategic objectives that align with my client’s mission, vision and values could look like this:

1. Having deeper knowledge across a wider range of human services markets than rivals by investing heavily in continual professional development annually.

This objective is aligned because it specifically states that knowledge is applied across a wide range of markets. The mission, vision and values also illustrate a wide range of markets.

2. Offering lower overall fees over rivals to attract a broader range of NDIS providers month on month.

This objective is aligned because the lower pricing makes my client accessible to all new and existing NDIS providers.

 3. Cultivating a stronger brand reputation than rivals by offering a more personalised service with superior skills and experience with every interaction.

This objective is aligned because of the ethical, collaborative, and transparent nature of the core values, the “thought leader” vision for the future and the high level of customer satisfaction promised as a result of the service.

Further, these objectives are relevant to the mission, vision, and values, specific in nature, time-bound and achievable.

Once strategic objectives have been decided, their performance can be reviewed against a Balanced Scorecard; commonly used for combining both financial and strategic objectives to give a balanced view of strategic and financial performance (Thompson, et al., 2019 p. 33).

The table below demonstrates how the above objectives can provide my client with an overall view of their business performance over time, thus confirming the relevance of strategic objectives for the business and alignment with the mission, vision, and values. Accompanied with financial objectives, which aren’t discussed in this paper, my client will achieve a 360-degree view of the business’s short-term performance, which will give them the ability to focus more strategically on how to grow their business over the longer term.

ObjectiveScorecard Dimension
1. Having deeper knowledge across a wider range of human services markets than rivals by investing heavily in continual professional development annually.Organisational
2. Offering lower overall fees over rivals to attract a broader range of NDIS providers month on month.Financial
3. Cultivating a stronger brand reputation than rivals by offering a more personalised service with superior skills and experience with every interaction.Customer
Strategic Objectives Balanced Scorecard

According to Meyer-Cuno, a vision serves two purposes; to create a long-term strategy for where the company is going and to align employees with the company’s direction. A mission summarises the company’s cause (Meyer-Cuno, 2021). Further, a clearly defined mission and specific vision are required to develop a set of strategic objectives because the objectives are the conduit for turning the mission and vision into performance goals (Thompson, et al., 2019 p. 30).

I recommended to my client to adopt the vision discussed in section 2 or develop a vision that clearly identifies the business’s purpose and future aspirations to allow for a set of strategic objectives to be developed for the business.

My client could also consider adopting the strategic objectives discussed in section 3 or develop a set of specific strategic objectives that are aligned with their mission, vision, and values that are also specific, achievable, and measurable to enable them to chart business progress over time and remain motivated to continue moving forward.

Finally, a quick review of the mission to include who they serve and to clarify their identity, because an articulate mission statement, according to Thompson et al.  seeks to identify what a company does, how it intends to satisfy a clients’ needs and clearly identify the business to the sector.

Although my client is a micro-business, they have taken important steps to identify their purpose by creating a Mission and Values and displaying them on their website. With the addition of a forward-looking vision and making the mission more specific, my client will solidify their place in the Human Services sector and have performance goals to work towards for years to come, ensuring they can continue to eat well, travel and do the gardening.

Reference list 

Australian Government, 2016-17. Budget Strategy and Outlook: Budget Paper No. 1, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

Chavan, M., 2009. The balanced scorecard: a new challenge. The Journal of Management Development, 28(5), pp. 393-406.

Collins, J. C., 1996. Building your company’s vision. Harvard Business Review, 74(5), p. 65.

Cox Edmondson, V., 2018. The Thinking Strategist: Unleashing the Power of Strategic Management to Identify, Explore and Solve Problems. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited.

Lohr, C., 2020. What is strategy?. Plumbing & Mechanical Engineer, 26(9), pp. 28-29.

Meyer-Cuno, D., 2021. Forbes. [Online]
Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbooksauthors/2021/02/24/is-a-vision-statement-important/?sh=3ac7f6e43be7
[Accessed 31 March 2022].

Productivity Commission, 2016. Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services:, Canberra: Study Report.

Thompson, A., Peteraf, M. A., Gamble, J. E. & Strickland, D. A. J. (., 2019. Crafting & Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage: Concepts and Cases. 22nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.