Vision and mission statements are two sorts of company statements, generally crafted by company leadership, which combine to give a sense of your company as a holistic entity. Mission statements are typically concerned with process and strategy, and focus upon more short-term goals. Vision statements refer to long-term goals and an overreaching business philosophy. Together vision and mission statements answer questions such as “who are we, what do we do, for whom do we do it, and why?”
Here are two examples of descriptive yet concise mission and vision statements, from Save the Children: “Our mission – To inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives. Our vision – A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation.” Often companies may merge the two statements into one, or confuse them.
A mission statement has clear goals your colleagues and employees are expected to strive after and reach at a given point in the near future. Mission statements are more concrete and short term. Mission statements can change as they have a purpose and goals that are more immediate. There are actual “mission statement generators” online, which proves the peril of creating statements that are too generic and filled with typical buzzwords. An oft-cited example of an effective mission statement is Amazon’s “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.” Inc. magazine understandably referred to Hershey’s old mission statement, “Undisputed Marketplace Leadership,” as one of the worst ones.
It can be a good idea to include employees when crafting such statements so that they are on board and willing and able to follow and exemplify the statements’ content. It is important to take workers’ ability to fulfill short-term goals into consideration. Some areas of focus within mission and vision statements, that have a direct impact on your colleagues and employees, include your code of ethics and behavior guide, performance standards and productivity goals, and decision-making processes.
A vision statement is more abstract and speaks to your company’s philosophy, potential, and direction. The original idea of company mission statements goes back to the 1960s; Honda’s vision statement from 1970 was “We will destroy Yamaha.” The old question “where do you want to be in 10 years?” applies here, on a broader stage. A vision for the future provides workers with inspiration and direction. A company’s vision communicates its values, character, and culture. Company culture and vision is becoming more important as customers have begun to actively look for businesses to engage with which reflect their own values and priorities. A vision statement is a founding principle, and not as flexible as mission statements may be. Here is an excerpt from PepsiCo’s vision statement: to “deliver top-tier financial performance over the long term by integrating sustainability into our business strategy, leaving a positive imprint upon society and the environment. We call this Performance with Purpose. It starts with what we make…extends to how we make our products…and considers those who make them.”
Mission and vision statements together communicate the values, purpose, culture, priorities, and goals of a company, to give the company an identity that it promotes and sells. They imply an action and a goal. These statements help make your company accountable by giving goals to strive toward and a defining culture to operate within.
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