Mission, Vision, Core Ideology & Guiding Principles

Most companies these days define their corporate identity in terms of a mission, vision, values, etc... 

Collins & Porras (2002) said it best when they noted that the authenticity of the ideology and the extent to which a company attains consistent alignment with their stated ideology counts more than the ideology it self. A company's core ideology should inspire and give direction to all those employed by the company. Operational excellence depends in part by excellent direction and well-aligned policies and practices - both are symptoms of an inspiring corporate ideology. We can think of the analogy of people playing tug-of-war: it's best if everyone pulls in the same direction!

Conversely, a core ideology written after the fact (perhaps even written by a third-party marketing firm having absolutely no visibility within the company in question) would not be likely to inspire or guide anyone withing the company. A purely marketing-based corporate ideology might look good from the outside, but could serve to create confusion within the company or contribute to other dysfunctional outcomes.

The core ideology is the reason for existence of a company beyond profits. A company that exists purely to make profits CANNOT HAVE A CORE IDEOLOGY if we define it according to the accepted definition.

"Successful products and services come from being an outstanding organization, not the other way around" – Collins & Porras (2002)