The Difference Between Mission Statement & Vision Statement

Dear M & M: 

Could you explain the difference between mission statement and the vision statement for any company?

– Jeffery

Dear Jeffery:

Mission and vision statements are the building blocks or foundation that any organization is built on.  Early on in everyone’s business plan you should develop and write down your own company’s versions of both.

The mission statement is a concise statement of what is it that you want to do, or why the company exists. Most organizations have a mission statement, but I wonder how many of us know what the mission statement or purpose of the business we work for is? How crazy is that?

Hard to believe but most companies do not have a clear mission statement. Many times I see 2 paragraphs of how they will be the best company on the planet, with exceptional customer service, with prices pleasing to everyone, keeping an eye on technological advances, paying attention to the workforce, looking to please everyone all the time every day, on and on…

The owners or founders of companies that do not have a clear concise written mission statement that everyone understands and knows leaves the people that work for the organization confused or not having a clear idea on what they are supposed to be doing.

An example of a good Mission statement: Auto- Owners Insurance out of Michigan, “Our Goal is to provide the best claim service in the industry.”- Mission Statemnents.com. Did you notice how that example is clear and concise?

Anyone that works for that organization should have a good understanding of what they are supposed to do.  The focus of that organization is to provide the best claim service possible. Now let us take a look at vision statements. A company’s vision statement should be clear, short and focused as well.

A visionary statement is clearly focused on the future and how the company sees itself going forward.  Elements of the company’s culture and how they feel about their community or world and how they see themselves fit in it are important to reflect in your company’s vision statement.

Remember your core competencies or the things you do well should be reflected in both your mission statement and vision statement. The first thing to do is to write down, your real reason for existence. What do you clearly want to do?

What do you want the people in your organization to do?  Hard to do, easy to say, but many people believe you should be able to say it in 11 words or less. I always love Walt Disney’s Vision statement, “To Make People Happy”.  What a great visionary thought. Remember it is about letting the people that work in your organization know about what it is that you want them to do.

Not what looks good on paper and not a flowery dissertation 2 pages long being everything to everyone. Take a look at your organizations mission and vision statements. Are they clear, concise and give good direction? Most importantly do they tell your stakeholders what it is that you want to accomplish and does it tell your employees what they should be doing?

-M&M

To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation(EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email  hollism@svedf.org

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