Once you have a partnership convened and a common understanding of the context for this work, develop a common purpose by defining vision, mission, and values.
A vision statement answers the questions: Where do we want to be in the future? How great can we become? What do we want to create together?
A core values statement describes deeply held commitments that translate directly into behavior. Beliefs are an expression of what we believe to be true, while values are what we do as a result of what we believe.
A mission statement answers the question, “Why do we exist?” If your group already has a mission statement, this is an opportunity to review, revise, and refresh their mission.
A number of tools are available to help lead a group in writing vision, core values, and mission statements, including Making Decisions Tool #1: Brainstorming Techniques; Brainwriting a Mission Statement (to identify what are we here to do and for whom, how will we accomplish our aim, and why do we exist?); and The 27-9-3 Rule: Developing your Persuasive Message (a process for creating powerful, succinct, messages—no more than 27 words, delivered in nine seconds, containing just three or fewer ideas). You can use this last tool to create or modify a mission statement.