Vantage Point
Vantage Point is a quarterly newsletter designed to help organizations
improve performance through strategic planning and executive consulting.
Planning FAQs
What is the difference between Vision and Mission?

Organizations that are new to strategic planning often struggle with some of the terminology. That is not surprising because even the experts play fast and loose with the definitions. Two terms that are often confused are Vision and Mission. The big difference between Vision and Mission is perspective. Mission is a clear statement of why an organization exists. What need or service is the organization attempting to meet? This may seem obvious but many organizations have reinvented themselves by redefining their mission. Over the years we have watched MicroSoft redefine its Mission from pc software to organizational productivity and now entertainment. The Mission defines the boundries in which you operate. Vision on the other hand looks beyond your current environment and describes where you are going. It describes that future you are working toward. When thinking about Vision we encourage people to think very long-term. You should look far enough into the future so that your Vision is not limited by your current capabilities. A powerful Vision inspires the organization to greatness.
What is an appropriate planning window?

The planning window is simply the timeframe your strategic plan covers. Most organizations use a five-year planning window. Most of the plan should address issues that will be faced in the next 12 to 18 months. Most of your resources will be devoted to these short-term issues. However, it is also important to take some time to deal with long-term issues. In the case of a five-year planning window, an organization should set five-year objectives. This helps to manage expectations and highlight issues that have a longer lead time. Although most organizations use a five-year planning window, some use a shorter window like three years. These tend to be organizations in very dynamic environments with short product life cycles. Software and other technology-based businesses are examples. We see longer planning windows for industries with big capital investments that take ten or more years to plan and implement. Some companies in the energy industry require these lead times.
Interstate Highway System Turns 50
The Federal Interstate Highway System is celebating its 50th Anniversary. The link below provides a very interesting report on the status of the Alabama Interstate System. This should be helpful to engineers and contractors planning for the future. Other states are also available. Highway Report
Future Topics
  • What Action Plans must include.
  • The difference between Goals and Objectives.
  • Poll Question
    The poll question last quarter asked people to identify the greatest challenges facing their organization . The majority (55%) believe that hiring, training and retaining employees is the greatest challenge. Here are the actual results:
    9%Communication (primarily internal)
    55%Hiring, training and retaining employees
    18%Managing growth/sales
    9%Leadership/management succession
    9%Customer/client satisfaction
    Our poll question this quarter is: What is the best thing the government can do to address high energy prices:

  • Reduce taxes on gasoline and other forms of energy
  • Subsidize renewable energy sources
  • Reduce regulatory restrictions on the energy industry
  • Open new federal lands for energy exploration
  • Fund more research on energy efficiency
  • Click here to participate in our poll. You may return to the Poll Page to monitor the results as often as you like. However, you should respond to the poll question only once.
    Employee Retention
    Last quarter's poll results recognized the challenge of hiring and retaining quality employees. In the current environment we see organizations that are constrained not by their ability to attract new customers but by their ability to hire the people to get the job done. Many organizations are resorting to hiring less qualified employees and investing more in the training and development of those employees. This is a reasonable solution to the problem only if they can retain those employees long enough to recover the extra investment. It pays to think about what motivates the average employee to stay with an organization. Over the years, we have conducted many employee surveys and talked to thousands of employees and these are the things we hear from them.
  • Respected/appreciated by management
  • Career/advancement opportunities
  • Pay/wages/salary
  • Benefits (medical insurance/pension/vacation)
  • Job security
  • You may be surprised to learn that pay often attracts new candidates but they often stay with an organization for other reasons. We have found that an employee that feels valued by the organization is likely to stay when a competitor comes calling.
    Published quarterly by Vantage Associates, on the web at www.vantageassociates.com
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