VALA strategy – clarified direction and fresh starts
After seemingly endless work, our strategy is now finished. In this post I’ll share my thoughts on the why’s, what’s and how’s of VALA’s refreshed strategy.
Why fix something that isn’t broken?
One of our strategy consultants from Spring Advisors was somewhat surprised that we wanted to refresh our strategy, because he knew how well VALA was doing. In his words, “more often than not companies are in some kind of trouble when strategies are renewed but you are doing exceptionally well.”
It’s understandable to ration that we shouldn’t fix something that isn’t broken. The point here, however, was to see where we could improve and what we should focus on in the future. Like a football team, even if they won the series last year, they still have their pre-season camp where they spent a lot of time thinking how they could improve.
Moreover, at VALA, the strategy rounds always include a thorough analysis of our business and of the surrounding business environment. These analyses are extremely important for us, even if we wouldn’t do any strategic changes.
Unsurprising but inspiring at the same time
What is our strategy like then? I would describe it as dependable, steady and easy to follow. Hmm, that’s not the most thrilling description, is it? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a very good strategy. Let me elaborate why.
After countless hours of thorough analysis of VALA and our business environment, we found out what we already knew, we are actually doing pretty well. And more importantly, the basic building blocks of our business are in place to handle the ever changing future too.
To clarify, we didn’t need any drastic changes in the core of VALA, meaning our values, culture, business model, organisational structure and so on. But we definitely created a lot of fresh perspectives, initiatives and goals, alongside with a renewed vision and mission.
These new factors, combined with the secure feeling of rock-solid building blocks, that is what makes this strategy inspiring.
As we began this process – of which you can read more in this interview at IteWiki – one of the most important goals was to further clarify our direction as a company. We wanted a strategy that all VALA people could remember and internalize. Even more importantly, we wanted the strategy to contain a direction that VALA people could better follow in their everyday lives.
Did we find the direction? Well yes and no. No, because we didn’t create anything new per se. But yes, because we were successful in choosing a clear direction from the various options we had on the table. A direction that everyone remembers and can follow by basing their everyday decisions on it.
Vision and mission are the statements that provide the mutual direction at VALA. Mission is our purpose and by following it, alongside with our values, we will get closer to the vision. Next, more about these.
Vision, mission & values
Our company vision provides VALA people the most high-level mutual direction. Our new vision is: Inspiring quality, compiling happiness.
The first part is at the same time self-explanatory and multidimensional. In our context we naturally talk about software quality, but not only that. We also refer to quality in life. Moreover, inspiring can be used as an adjective (good quality is not enough for us, we produce inspiring quality) and as a verb (we inspire delivering quality and delivering quality inspires us).
The second part contains an iconic VALA-term, happiness. Since we included happiness in our strategy back in 2016 the term has gone through quite an inflation, but still, we stick with it because it’s so deep in our DNA.
But what we have done is that we’ve actually changed the whole meaning that we associate to the term. We do not anymore pursue happiness. Instead, we do our best as a company to provide the means for our people to construct their lives from the building blocks that support their happiness. So just to be clear, VALA doesn’t create happiness, VALA helps our people to do it themselves, if they want to.
Our new mission, i.e. our purpose as a company, is: Meaningfulness through unique culture, sustainable impact and software that works.
Hopefully this sentence is somewhat self-explanatory to you too. I don’t even know where to start, it’s just so VALA. It describes what we aim for, how and by doing what. Again, this is VALA.
VALA values are: Empathy, Transparency, Sustainability, Lifelong learning and Autonomy.
Our values are the same, for a good reason. These are the values we’ve lived by for a long time, why would we suddenly change them? The only difference is that we combined a few of them so now there are five instead of seven.
To complement our high level goals, we need some smaller scale, more targeted, projects and goals. For this purpose, we created five new streams which, together with our normal day to day operations, help us fulfil our mission and move towards our vision.
These five streams are: Service offering, Skills & learning, Internationalisation, People, culture & organizational development, and Internal operations & communication.
These streams all have their own fresh approaches and fresh goals. And through these, they provide fresh starts for all VALA people.
Next, we’ll start implementing the strategy, through the streams, following our implementation plan.
First, we’ll find out who at VALA wants to participate actively and in what stream (of course everyone participates in one way or another anyway). Then step by step the streams begin working independently towards their sub goals which bring them closer to their end goals.
And so, we live by our mission and values, and gradually move towards our vision. Our future looks bright.
P.S. If you haven’t noticed yet, our brand visuals and website have been refreshed too. By all means, take a look around!
About the writer
HEad of marketing
Toni is in charge of VALA’s marketing. He has two little children at home so there’s not too much spare time but when there is, he likes to play or watch football.