Nov 07

Creating effective Mission, Vision, and Values Statements for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies

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Mission, Vision, and Values Statements are the most fundamental elements of strategic planning for a business or organization.  Managers of these organizations recognize the need to articulate their organization’s purpose and the methods for achieving their goals. These simple, yet powerful, statements should capture the very essence of the organization and summarize its high-level goals.  They should guide every management decision. They are especially critical for project management, as every project’s goals must align with the organizations vision, mission, and values.  If the project does not align with all three statements, then the team should rethink the necessity of the project.


Mission Statement

The Mission Statement gives the fundamental purpose of an organization, succinctly describing why it exists and what it does. For example, a charity’s mission might be “to provide job training for the homeless and unemployed”.  Although some organizations choose to create long mission statements, the most effective are no more than a few sentences.  A Mission Statement for a biotechnology or pharmaceutical company will likely include elements describing a commitment to high ethical standards, a propensity for innovation, and a financial responsibility to shareholders.  A Mission Statement focuses on the present state of an organization; therefore, it should be updated periodically as the organization grows and changes.

The ideal way to create a Mission Statement is to brainstorm inside and outside the organization.  Solicit input from stakeholders, shareholders, and potential customers regarding how they view the company and compile a list of positive terms that reflect this input.  The top two or three terms that capture the essence of the organization should then be worked into a simple statement. 

Biocon, a biotechnology company, has a Mission Statement that is about as succinct as possible: “To be an integrated biotechnology enterprise of global distinction”.  Merck & Co, Inc. has a longer, yet still elegant, Mission Statement that individually addresses customers, employees, and shareholders: “To provide society with superior products and services by developing innovations and solutions that improve the quality of life and satisfy customer needs, to provide employees with meaningful work and advancement opportunities, and investors with a superior rate of return.

Vision Statement

The Vision Statement is a long-term view which describes the desired future state of an organization in terms of its fundamental objective and/or strategic direction. For example, a charity’s Vision Statement might be "a world without poverty".  Effective Vision Statements are short, although many companies choose to create multiple vision statements to describe the future state of each product or each department, for example.

Genetech, a member of Roche Group, has a Vision Statement serving the entire company: “Utilize the science of biotechnology to become a leader in revolutionizing the treatment of patients with cancer, immunological diseases and angiogenic disorders”.

Values Statement

A Values Statement is a summary of beliefs that are shared among the stakeholders of an organization.  These core values drive an organization's culture and provide a framework in which decisions are made. For example, a charity’s Values Statement might be "a hand-up, not a hand-out, to promote self-sufficiency and self-confidence".  The Values Statement is important for all organizations, but it is a crucial component of the public statements for biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and biofuels companies, since it is critical that the public perceives these types of companies as having high ethical standards and recognizing corporate social responsibility. 

A Values Statement should be succinct, yet memorable.  Ideally, it would be catchy enough so that employees will remember it and find guidance in it when making decisions on behalf of the company.  Grammar is less important than is content and the positive characteristics it conveys.  Vertex Pharmaceutical’s Values Statement is a good example of this: “Fearless pursuit of excellence; innovation is our life-blood; and ‘we’ wins”.  Some companies keep it simple and provide a list of values, offering additional description in the form of a link, such as is the case with Amgen:

“Be Science-Based
Compete Intensely and Win
Create Value for Patients, Staff and Stockholders
Be Ethical
Trust and Respect Each Other
Ensure Quality
Work in Teams
Collaborate, Communicate and Be Accountable”

For more information on project management documentation and how to write Vision, Mission, and Values Statements, please contact Bioedge Consulting for a free consultation.