Strategy & Business Development

Use the 3-stage rocket of Purpose-Way-Impact for a clearer strategic foundation

If you’ve ever been involved in working with your company’s mission, vision and values you’ll know that sometimes you’ll end up with a bunch of cliché statements that could belong to any company. For instance “We want to be best in the world at X”.


According to JP Laqueur, this is because the terms mission, vision and values easily turn into something fluffy and intangible that is difficult to use for anything other putting in the strategy plan. In order to make it easier to remember and use values, mission and vision constructively he has developed a new method. On LinkedIn, JP Laqueur calls the method “The 3-staged rocket of Purpose-Way-Impact.


You start at the bottom of the rocket with Purpose:



Stage 1: Your purpose

This step replaces the way we usually talk about our mission. But rather than talking about products, services or goals and strategies you use Purpose to describe the change you are trying to create. In the article, Laqueur uses SouthWest Airlines as an example.


"To give everyone the freedom to fly and bring joy back to air travel."


This is the change you want to create in the world and it’s the reason your company exists. It’s the first step in the model because your fundamental statement motivates your employees and makes them want to go to work for something more than their salary.


Based on change your purpose is about changing something that simultaneously drives you crazy and motivates both employees and customers. Usually, this is the reason the company was even founded. In Laqueur’s model, Purpose is the most important stage because the rocket can’t leave the ground without it. Purpose replaces the often vague articulation of mission with a clear, brief and simple statement.


Stage 2: Your way

This statement describes the unique way you want to create the change you described in Purpose. It’s inspired by your organization’s culture, strategy and core values. But rather than being a worn-out list of irrelevant statements that could belong to any company, this statement distils a few actions and ideas that are located in the core of the company’s operations and decision-making.


This is the second stage because it provides the control and the progress your company needs to overcome the different pitfalls and stages it encounters when it grows.


Again with SouthWest Airlines as an example:

"We control costs to keep fares down, and focus on fun and humor – rather than peanuts and perks – to provide a great experience."


Stage 3: Your impact

This last stage is a manifestation of the ultimate effect your company will have on other people’s lives and on the way the world looks once you’ve fulfilled your purpose.


While this is a type of vision declaration, according to Laqueur, it’s important that it’s not declaration rooted in something external. This would easily become irrelevant. (For instance to become the world’s best ….). If your vision could fit several other companies, it’s a do-over!


Instead, Laqueur writes, your “Way” must describe what you want to see in the future – or from your rocket’s orbit when you shut off the engine and look down from above.


This statement should be a little more striving and ambitious than your Purpose statement because you may never actually reach it, but it’ll keep your employees motivated and it’ll nurture the company in its later growth stages which is why it’s the final stage.


SouthWest Airlines:

"When more people can go more places in the world – to make new connections, laugh with loved ones, and share experiences – life will be richer, and humanity will be brought closer together."


Do you and your colleagues find it hard to remember your mission, vision and values, then here’s a new way of dealing with it. A method that’s easier to remember, more authentic and easier to use on a daily basis.


Laqueur has made an infographic about the method containing more examples. You can download it here.