Mission statements define an organization’s core values, purpose, function, and objectives. They tend to focus on how the organization should act on a daily basis.
Vision statements detail where or what the organization aspires to be in the context of its community, industry, or society in general.
Understanding mission statements
Mission statements are action-orientated and clarify the purpose of an organization with respect to its audience. They may include a brief description of the organization or details of its functions, objectives, core values, and purpose.
Mission statements define the “what” and the “how” of a company and often serve as the basis for the strategy that will enable the organization to realize its vision.
In general, they are public-facing statements designed for the consumer – but they may also be used to drive employee policies and streamline internal decision-making.
Robust mission statements advance those within the organization toward a common goal. They will also need to be revised periodically with new objectives as the objectives in the current statement are ticked off.
Conversely, weak mission statements – or indeed no mission statement whatsoever – has the opposite effect.
Employees are unmotivated and directionless which leads to a loss of productivity.
By extension, the organization itself may jump from one idea to the next according to whatever is trendy but its disjointed and misaligned efforts will invariably fail.
Disney mission statement example
The Walt Disney Company’s mission is “to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
Understanding vision statements
Where mission statements are the “what” and the “how” of a company, vision statements are the “why”.
In other words, what is the meaning behind the company’s actions? What is the “why” that motivates it to act in a certain way?
Unlike mission statements which clarify what the organization is currently doing to reach its goals, vision statements describe where the company wants to be in the future.
The aspirational nature of a vision means there is a focus on employees and other relevant stakeholders as opposed to consumers.
Vision statements encourage the organization to answer the following questions:
- What are our future hopes and dreams?
- Who are we inspiring to change?
- What is a problem we are solving with societal benefits?
These statements encourage internal and external growth and provide clarity on what matters in a business and what success looks like.
Like mission statements, however, a poor or non-existent vision statement means the organization is going nowhere fast. These businesses tend to be stagnant, unmotivated, and uninspired.
Vision statement examples
- IKEA – “To create a better everyday life for the many people.”
- Samsung – “Inspire the world, create the future.”
- Oxfam – “A just and sustainable world without the inequalities that keep people in poverty.”
- Mission statements define an organization’s core values, purpose, function, and objectives and focus on how the organization should act daily. Vision statements detail where or what the organization aspires to be in the context of its community, industry, or society in general.
- Mission statements define the “what” and the “how” of a company and often serve as the basis for the strategy that will enable the organization to realize its vision.
- Vision statements are more focused on the “why”. In other words, what is the meaning behind the company’s actions? What is the important problem it is solving that has positive implications for society?
Read Next: Mission Statement, Personal Mission Statement.
Related Strategy Concepts: Go-To-Market Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Business Models, Tech Business Models, Jobs-To-Be Done, Design Thinking, Lean Startup Canvas, Value Chain, Value Proposition Canvas, Balanced Scorecard, Business Model Canvas, SWOT Analysis, Growth Hacking, Bundling, Unbundling, Bootstrapping, Venture Capital, Porter’s Five Forces, Porter’s Generic Strategies, Porter’s Five Forces, PESTEL Analysis, SWOT, Porter’s Diamond Model, Ansoff, Technology Adoption Curve, TOWS, SOAR, Balanced Scorecard, OKR, Agile Methodology, Value Proposition, VTDF Framework, BCG Matrix, GE McKinsey Matrix, Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model.
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