Executive teams struggle with developing the best big strategy statements. Do we need a vision or a mission statement? Can we just state a list of values? What’s a core purpose, and is it necessary? Won’t varied statements create confusion?

All. Great. Questions. But not for beginning to develop strategy statements.

Instead of answering these questions directly, we push executives to focus on whatever they need to successfully lead and run their organizations. We have them address:

  • What is the reason your organization exists?
  • Can any competitors claim similar reasons for their existence?
  • How transformative should your strategy be?
  • Are the behaviors and interactions your people have among themselves and with external audiences working?
  • What do audiences think your direction is? Are their perceptions correct?
  • What’s the best of what you are right now? How strongly should that shape your future?

Their answers reveal what big strategy statements and supporting tools are essential. Instead of asking what each statement should be, though, we ask productive questions about the organization’s:

  • Best qualities
  • Aspirations
  • Future hopes
  • Vital benefits for customers

Posing open-ended questions to a broad, diverse group of employees always reveals the words, phrases, and ideas to shape important strategy statements.

How many big strategy statements do you need?


Brainzooming always recommends developing as many strategy statements as you need to:

  • Motivate and stretch the organization with aspirational goals
  • Communicate a clear direction with every important audience
  • Thoroughly highlight your brand’s most important benefits and impacts

Here’s an example of stating multiple big strategy statements serving different purposes.

An article in The Wall Street Journal covered Brett Yormark’s initial strategy as he took over as commissioner of the Big 12 athletic conference in the US. He faced a daunting competitive dynamic: two other college athletic conferences jumped to places 1 and 2, far ahead of the Big 12 in third place. The other conferences generate substantially greater television revenues and have pulled teams from competitor conferences, including several from the Big 12. 

A single goal for a turnaround CEO might be, “WE NEED TO BE NUMBER 1.” It’s not completely clear, though, whether the Big 12 could reach the top of major athletic conferences. Instead, Yormark shared four variations of differing big strategy statements within the article:

  • Vision: To be a “cultural phenomenon”
  • Big Goal: Being Number 1 (because, as he puts it, he doesn’t “strive to be No. 3.”)
  • Mission: To create strong alignment, revenue growth, a national presence, and top-of mind awareness among upcoming athletes.
  • Brand Position: “Younger, hipper, and cooler”

These statements work on multiple, varied fronts to promote change and growth.

  • The Big 12 vision to become a cultural phenomenon challenges traditional thinking and demands envisioning and implementing bolder initiatives. 
  • The big goal states the obvious huge aspiration; the mission statement communicates realistic stretch goals
  • The emotion-focused brand position can motivate and attract future athletes 

It’s easy in this example to see how these varied big strategy statements all work together in moving the organization, its member universities, and its athletes forward.

Do you need to update your big strategy statements to create greater impact?

If your organization’s strategy statements are outdated or failing to motivate transformative change and growth, Brainzooming options for you:

Your big strategy statements shouldn’t be bland sentences and bulleted lists that live in long-overlooked posters in facilities. Take the steps right now to make them work for! – Mike Brown

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