Walt Disney Company's Mission Statement and Vision: Formula for Success
A Company's Mission Statement and Vision Provide the Foundation
An Effective Business
If you are the owner of a business----any size business----you have certainly thought about the following question: What makes a strong business? In difficult economic times, companies that have appeared stable for years may suddenly go out of business. Therefore, organizations that remain financially secure and prosperous over the years command the attention of the world. One of these companies is the Walt Disney Company, which Walt Disney founded in the early 1920s. This organization prospered throughout the twentieth century, and today it continues to grow and prosper in spite of recent economic downturns. A close look at the Walt Disney Company will reveal some of the ingredients that go into any successful business. Any business owner can use these principles to grown a business that will stand the test of time.
Business scholars have conducted numerous studies over the years regarding factors that go into the making of a successful business. Although conflicting answers have emerged in various studies, certain factors seem to characterize a successful business, a business that meets and exceeds its financial obligations and heads into the future adapting to changes and flourishing in the process. Certain financial benchmarks also present evidence that a business is setting realistic goals and meeting, or possibly exceeding, those goals. When that kind of business success occurs year after year, the organization develops a reputation for meeting the expectations and needs of its clients. It may even become a giant among companies. These attributes aptly describe the Walt Disney Company.
Success of the Walt Disney Company
A number of factors are responsible for the success of the Walt Disney Company, and all should be considered. However, certain ingredients were present from the beginning that provided the foundation on which this company rests. From the beginning of his company, Walt Disney founded his company with a strong mission statement and vision. The principles expressed in the mission statement and the vision guided all of the other decisions made by this company.
Walt Disney Company Mission Statement
The Walt Disney Company’s Mission Statement is one likely reason for the company’s success. An effective mission statement defines a company’s current business plan, and the Disney Company’s Mission Statement accomplishes that purpose:
The Mission of the Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world (Walt Disney Archives: http://d23.disney.go.com/archives/a-history-of-the-walt-disney-company/
The Walt Disney Company carries out its Mission Statement quite effectively. As Apel (2007) succinctly stated, “Disney does it right.” He was referring to the Disney Company’s three-pronged approach of combining research of the market to find out how to best please its clients, considering who its clients are and making sure that all cultures are represented, and a long history of pleasing its patrons, the “Disney Way,” which has been effective for over fifty years. In other words, Disney combines research, client culture and preferences, and expertise to assure that the company fulfills the Disney Mission Statement, a statement that defines the Disney Company’s plan for today.
The Walt Disney Vision
The Mission Statement and the Vision Statement of a company work together. The vision provides the company with a plan for the future while the mission statement outlines the company’s current business and purpose. Thompson, A., Peteraf, M., Gamble, J., Strickland, A.
explain that the mission statement is the defining role for the company’s current business and purpose and an effective vision statement should align with venture growth of a company as measured by sales, profit, employment, and net worth (2012, p. 26).
A company’s Vision Statement defines an organization’s future goals. Thompson, et al. emphasizes the importance of a company’s having a “well-conceived, forcefully communicated strategic vision,” and the Walt Disney Company’s vision fulfills that role (2012, p. 26-27).
An effective vision statement has seven essential characteristics. One characteristic is brevity. The statement should be between 11 and 22 words and directly point to a central goal, one that clients and employees can easily remember within a few minutes. Effective visions are challenging, inspiring employees to strive to reach a high, yet attainable goal, usually of national or international status for the company. A clear vision projects its goals into the future, and is stable. In other words, vision statements do not shift or change in the face of market trends or passing whims. The most effective visions inspire staff to set high goals and reach for these goals. The most effective visions affect both staff and the public.
Even though it is a little shorter than the 11 words recommended by Thompson, et al., (2012, p. 27), the Walt Disney Company Vision Statement meets the criteria of an effective vision statement: “To make people happy” (Walt Disney Archives, 2012). This statement is broad, but not too broad, and represents the overall goal and global direction of the business.
Values and Ethics
The values and ethics of the Walt Disney Company are an essential element of the company’s culture. Five essential components of the Disney culture are included here. First is innovation. The company is committed to continued innovation and technology, just as it was when Disney’s Mickey Mouse was one of the first cartoon presentations to have sound. Next, the Disney Company strives toward setting a high standard of excellence and maintaining that high standard. Third, the Disney Company is committed to positive, inclusive ideas about family, which provide enjoyment for all ages. Fourth, the Disney Company continues a tradition of timeless storytelling that delights and inspires, and finally, the company is dedicated to honor and respect decency in order to inspire trust in the company (culture and diversity: http://disneycareers.com/en/working-here/culture-diversity/
According to statements from the Walt Disney Company, Disney has been an advocate for protecting the environment for many years. The company has embedded the themes of environmental protection and conservation into recurring themes in the parks and creative media. The company also states that it is making a concerted effort to train its cast members, staff, and other employees to make sure the Walt Disney Company’s management and staff consider these themes of conservation and protecting the environment in their decision-making policies (Walt Disney Archives).
The word sustainability has several connotations. This word is synonymous with corporate social responsibility (CSR); occasionally, business leaders use it interchangeably with corporate social responsibility. Sustainable businesses practices are actions by a business that indicate the practice of social responsibility. In recent years, the term has come to refer to a company’s relationship with its surrounding environment and its use of the air, water, land, forests, animals, minerals, fossil fuels, and other natural resources, which are all finite. The wise use of such natural resources by a corporation is ultimately in the best interest of the corporation. By preserving these resources, the company assures that they will be available for present and for future needs (Thompson, 2012, p. 318).
The Disney Company has several practices that indicate its position regarding sustainability. Disney’s position on sustainability has been strong since the 1950s. The company produced numerous television programs on animals and the importance of preserving wildlife and the environment. Walt Disney himself planned and produced these programs and
In the 1960s, Walt Disney set aside a conservation area of nearly one-third of the Walt Disney World Resort for preserving wildlife and their habitats. The company established the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund in 1995 to support organizations that impact the environment in a positive way. Then, in 2007, the Disney Company established its Environmental Council. This council is composed of senior executives from every division around the company. Their purpose is to set Disney’s high-level environmental strategy.
In addition, Disney’s sustainability goals focus on two areas: First, reducing the company’s operating impact on the planet and secondly, inspiring others to do the same. Part of this two-fold plan includes employees who make up Green Teams and check on each component of the organization to make sure all departments are taking care to employ environment-safe practices within the company. Disney continually conducts research to determine the best practices for protecting the environment, especially practices that cut carbon emissions. For that purpose, Disney set up a Climate Solutions Working Group that researches ways to cut carbon emissions. To encourage others to take care of the environment, Disney has established programs for youth like Disney’s Friends for Change and Disney’s Planet Challenge. In addition, the Disney Animal Kingdom theme park and the Disney nature documentary film label, raises awareness of the earth’s wildlife and resources.
Disney’s Senior Vice-President Beth Stevens made the following comment about Disney’s views and actions regarding sustainability:
Sustainability is being integrated deeper into our overall decision-making process. As an example, the capital authorization process requires that all new projects be evaluated not only in terms of financial returns, but also in terms of environmental footprint. Each project is then required to meet not only the financial goals of the company, but also the environmental goals of the company (Stevens, September 24, 2010).
Most predictions for the future destination of the Disney Company are positive ones. The Walt Disney Company’s Fiscal Year Annual Report and Shareholder Letter addressed the risk factors facing the media giant (2012, pp. 17-26). One of Disney’s strongest assets is its diversification. If the company continues to address potential threats to the company and remains focused on its mission and vision, which have served the company well for over 90 years, then the prospects for the future for the Walt Disney Company appear promising, and the future may be even more promising for the organization.