The world is constantly changing and businesses need to flow with it. They need to look ahead and continue to thrive over the next decade or so and beyond. A well-crafted vision statement will anchor any organization as they go about this process.
What Makes an Effective Vision Statement?
- Future-focused: “Begin with the end in mind.” This statement perfectly encapsulates what vision statements are. A vision is a goal, an objective, an aim, and a purpose. These are bold statements that look forward and create an image of a future reality that the organization wishes to achieve. These statements clearly define what your organization will be in several years.
A vision statement answers a few future-oriented questions:
- Where do we want to go?
- Where are we headed?
- What are our strategic goals? If we achieved them, what would we look like 10 years from now?
- Structural: Vision statements are not only aspiring but are also structural. They provide a framework for all strategic planning strategies. It helps set business direction and influence your core decision-making process. It also plays a role in resource allocation activities.
- Inspirational: Vision statements should be inspirational, memorable and challenging. It should appeal to people and motivate them to commit to a higher purpose.
An effective vision statement creates a vivid image for your employees. This keeps your people enthusiastic, engaged, and driven to rise above daily challenges. Each individual focuses on the bigger picture and how they can contribute to it.
- Values-Based: Vision statements are values-based. These values are a set of beliefs and standards that characterize the organization. They reflect the behaviors practiced by everyone to help achieve their set goals.
- Memorable: An effective vision statement reflects what is unique to your organization. It recognizes and highlights what makes it different. It announces what makes your organization relevant and memorable.
It sets a clear map of activities that the organization will and will not pursue. It will determine the capabilities to develop and the position it will occupy in the market.
What is the Difference Between a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement?
The main difference between a vision statement and mission statement is the aspect of time. A mission statement describes where the organization is presently and describes why they do it. It is an everyday extension of your vision. It details what you can do, will do and have to do daily to make the organization’s vision a reality.
A vision statement, on the other hand, focuses on where you’re going and how you plan to get there. It is a future-focused. It is intended to inspire and provide direction to employees. A good vision statement answers the question: “What will this organization look like in 5 or 10 years?”
A mission statement answers the following questions:
- What does the organization do?
- Who does the organization service?
- What benefits does the organization provide?
A powerful mission statement details how an organization plans to achieve its objectives. It is an actionable statement for its customers, employees, shareholders, and other stakeholders. These are all instrumental stakeholders that play a role in the success of the organization.
What Makes an Effective Mission Statement?
- Blueprint: An effective mission statement provides the layout for day-to-day operations. It serves as the foundation for any decision-making needs.
- Customer Driven: An effective mission statement defines “Who” your customers are. It describes the type of customer it targets and wishes to serve.
- Service centered: An effective mission statement declares the customer needs the organization is trying to meet. This is where you specify the products and services you wish to offer to your customers and address their needs.
- Road-map: An effective mission statement explains “How” the company will serve its customers. The organization should outline the means by which they will serve their target market and meet its customers’ needs.
- Motivational: An effective mission statement motivates and inspires employees to commit to the organization’s vision. They should feel that they are part of the organization and that their contributions are important for their success. Their commitment should go beyond making more sales and profits.
Who Should a Mission Statement Target?
There are four primary stakeholders that your mission statement should target:
- Your Customers: You need to identify what you can do for your customers. Here you establish how you can contribute to enrich their lives. Your mission statement will help answer why they should choose your product or service.
- Your Employees: You need to describe what roles do you and your employees play. A good organization maintains a leadership style that organizes and recognizes employees. Employees are critical to the organization’s success and utmost attention should be given to fulfill their needs and help them perform at optimized levels.
- Your Shareholders: You need to describe how you will differ from competitors. Describe what is unique in what you do, what you do to achieve your goals and show why they should invest in you. Show what you will do to make your business a sustainable and profitable one.
- Your Suppliers and the Community You Serve: You need to identify your role in building relevant relationships within your community. The success of these relationships can influence the success of the organization.
Who Shapes Your Vision and Mission Statements?
Crafting your vision and mission statements require time, thought and careful planning. Here are the steps you can take to make one:
The first step is to determine who will play a role in crafting it.
You need to create a mission-writing group. Members should represent different parts of the organization. They should know the company's reason for existing and its target customers. They should have an idea of what their expected goals are.
Utilize idea-generating techniques.
You can choose any of the following techniques to come up with the details of the mission statement:
Have an open group brainstorming session where any idea is welcomed. List questions to be answered to delimit suggestions within the scope of the objective.
Divide the group into smaller working groups. Each group will create their own mission statements and later present to the entire group. Feedback is encouraged at this point.
- Create draft statements. Based on the inputs gathered, the designated writers will develop drafts. Writers should provide at least two statements for comparison.
- Discussion and Selection. The group will review the draft statements and discuss their merits. They will conduct a forum to exchange suggestions on how it can further improve. Make the necessary revisions and present the proposed mission statement for approval.
Once they’re complete, you have to make sure to spread the word! Everyone in your organization should know where you are going as a group and why. They should be clear on what role they play to help achieve these goals.
People outside the business should see what your company is and be clear on what you deliver. A thorough communication plan is needed to make this happen.