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Revisiting your mission and vision

All companies exist for a purpose and generally, mainly for profit. Companies, however, now realize that its most important assets are its people and that one cannot operate without taking care of the environment. So, there are now three purposes: profits, people and planet. Companies, big or small, have aspirations of what they want to be and where they want to be in the future.

A company’s vision and mission statement or governance charter is what sets the direction and focus of its existence. No matter how lofty or grand the vision and mission statements formulated are, companies will need to periodically revisit, assess, and recalibrate these if they wish to remain relevant and continue to exist.

The COVID-19 pandemic did not only disrupt operations, but also made companies rethink and reassess how they do their business as well as their purpose. As part of Philippine National Bank’s (PNB) sustainability thrust and to meet the challenges of the “new normal,” the bank revisited its mission and vision statement and core values in a two-day workshop recently. Attended by the board, advisors and management, the workshop was facilitated by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), led by ICD fellow and trustee Geocel Olanday, GM Bank of Luzon President Tomas “Mitch” Gomez, and Manuel “Bingo” Soriano, a branding specialist. Incidentally, ICD fellows in the PNB board and advisors are Vice Chairman Leonilo “Topper” Coronel, President Florido “Doy “Casuela, advisor Chris Nelson, and myself.

The company’s vision and mission and its core values are important elements in its strategic direction or transformation to move ahead and remain relevant in its industry. Vision statements should be clear, compelling and time-bound, showing what you seek to be and by when. Otherwise, the vision remains just a dream.

The mission statement is the company’s purpose — its reason for being, what problem is being solved or what need is being addressed. Mission statements are permanent and timeless, showing what you do and who you are.

Lastly, core values are what the company stands for, or what you believe in.

But how can a company realize its vision? Mr. Geocel stressed the importance of crafting a strategy map that will help define a company’s strategic priorities or objectives and identify its strategic initiatives to help realize its vision. A company’s strategic map should also be translated into a performance scorecard, which should include measurable or quantifiable objectives and targets with timelines.

He showed global industry leaders who failed to craft and execute winning strategies, such as Kodak and Nokia. But even under adverse conditions such as limited resources, winning strategies can also be crafted and executed. Mr. Geocel gave specific examples.

Though setting the strategic course of a company is the board’s responsibility, senior management’s inputs are critical. It is also equally important for both the board and the senior management to have a clear understanding and agreement in defining the company’s strategic priorities, which will contribute to the achievement of its vision.

Everyone was pleased with the result. Excellent collaboration, teamwork and a lot of work prior to the two-day workshop were done by the ICD and PNB management team. Mr. Geocel commended the PNB board for being active and engaged. With the mission-vision agreed upon, the next step is to cascade communications with execution, which is the key moving forward.   

Mission, vision and core values — why don’t we also set these out for our own life and our families? Where do you want to be five or 20 years from now? What is your vision for your children or grandchildren? What is your purpose? What are the core values you want to impart? My mother’s mission was very clear. For her family to know Jesus Christ and her vision was that all of us have a personal relationship with Him. “He is all we need,” she said.

Congratulations to the new PNB board, now chaired by independent director Edgar Cua and President Doy, with new additions former BSP Deputy Governor Cyd Amador and “returnee” Rico Alfiler. Former Chairman “Ding” Pascual remains as board advisor. Bravo also to PNB, which was ranked second among the top 10 Philippine banks in the Forbes list of World’s Best Banks in 2023!

Flor G. Tarriela was former chairman of Philippine National Bank. former undersecretary of Finance and the first Filipina vice-president of Citibank N.A. She is PNB board adviser, Nickel Asia’s lead ID and  a trustee of LTG,  FINEX, TSPI, and TSPI MBAI.  A gardener and an environmentalist, she founded Flor’s Garden in Antipolo.

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