Company Aspirations Defined

November 17, 2010

This is a part of a series that was created to help you define what you aspire to be as a company. This series will walk through the process, necessary roles, in addition to guides for each role to define your aspirations quickly.

Your company’s aspirations are what you aspire to be as a company.

They are the longest-term and most aggressive goals for your company. Your aspirations can be organized in many different ways, but most frequently are organized as your mission, vision, values, and priorities.

The ultimate goal of identifying, expressing, and living your company aspirations is for everyone in and around your organization to embrace and act in a manner consistent with your aspirations while making decisions and taking actions. Essentially, you reach your aspirations by living your aspirations.

Your aspiration goal can be broken down into mission, vision, value, and priority goals:

  • Mission Goal — All of the people in your organization understand your company’s purpose, and work toward realizing that purpose in their daily work.
  • Vision Goal — All of the people in your organization understand what you want your company and customer set to “look like” longer term, and they use this understanding to both motivate and guide their work.
  • Value Goal — All of the people in your organization work in a manner that is consistent with your values and principles.
  • Priorities — All of the people in your organization understand your priorities if there is ever any conflict between individual aspirations.

Aspirations serve as a guide to everyone inside and outside of your organization for explaining who you are, where you want to go, and how you’re going to get there.

Aspirations are a confused idea in most companies. Some companies think of aspirations as a poster to motivate employees. Other companies have senior managers who believe that aspirations are for the “troops” but not for them. These issues, and others, have led the vast majority of companies to have very poor aspiration practices, and most people to have a general disregard for or disbelief in the practice. Clearly, these approaches do not meet the goals of true aspirations and the poor approaches used by other companies make it much more difficult for you to implement the practice of true aspirations.

Company aspirations are often – but should not be – confused with “product aspirations,” “brand aspirations,” “customer aspirations,” “business unit aspirations,” “functional aspirations,” or any other aspirations that can be developed for a specific initiative. Company aspirations are different in that they are the umbrella over all the other aspirations.

Next week, I’ll discuss why it is important for every company to have aspirations.

Founder & Partner

As the founder of OpenView, Scott focuses on distinctive business models and products that uniquely address a meaningful market pain point. This includes a broad interest in application and infrastructure companies, and businesses that are addressing the next generation of technology, including SaaS, cloud computing, mobile platforms, storage, networking, IT tools, and development tools.