Since companies are systems, and systems are a set of objects interacting together with a common objetive, the most important thing to understand companies is that objetive. The objetive is everything to understand how a company works, because it defines the way all the “objects” in that organization interact in order to reach it. You can have all the parts of a car, just the right combination of location, adjustments and functioning will make that those parts becomes an vehicle that can transport people.
So, if the objetive is so important why some companies don’t define it or communicate it well (which is practically the same). If you ask someone from an organization what’s their company objetive they will say things like “Communicate the news in an objetive way (newspaper)” or “Simplify the life of their clients/consumers”. So what comes into my mind is that people confuse objetive with strategy (and with Vision and Mission?).
The objetive of a company is making money and, of course, if it is an objetive it must have defined a date and a value to be achieved. The strategy for making money could be “Communicating the news in an objetive way”. That’s why when you visit a newspaper it’s basically covered with ads. For some reason making money seems to be a black listed word in company’s cultures. The objective has to be overwhelming, because it loses strength while it gets distributed through the organization.
I’m not saying that changing the world, or improving your client’s life is not important but the way around. Making money is what gives your company to do all that things.