“Vision Statement” vs. “Mission Statement”: What’s the big deal?
“To Vision, or not to Vision..? To Mission, or not to Mission..? What’s the difference between a Vision and a Mission, and… do I need both?”
That is one of the most common questions that I hear from business leaders as they embark on starting their business, are conducting a turn-around or pivot, or are setting out on the exciting process of crafting their Strategic Plan or annual operating plan.
So… is there really a difference and does it matter?
Yes – there is a very clear difference and it is critical to have both for sustainable growth!
I recently came across this side-by-side summary that I think does a really good job distilling the two elements down and highlighting some of the distinctions between the two:
So how is a mission statement different from a vision statement?
Well, Wikipedia defines a mission statement as being different from a vision statement in that the former is a cause, and the latter is an effect. In other words a mission is something to be accomplished — whereas a vision is something to be pursued for that accomplishment.
Other people may be able to align to your vision for the future but, they’ll never fully own the vision the way that you will. It is personally yours. A vision statement is often very personal, highly motivating, and engaging to you, the business owner, the founder, the entrepreneur.
On the other hand, like a compass, a mission statement provides guidance for the current direction of your business. A mission statement invites your clients, your team, and you to coalesce on the path to achieve your greater vision.
Put simply, a mission statement provides energy, guidance, and direction for your business activities today – a vision statement provides an inspiring picture of tomorrow.
You can see that a mission statement is dramatically different than a vision statement – and also, that you need both to create a successful and sustainable business.
When we’re working with clients, we often start with the vision – using the principle of “starting with the end in mind”. Also, much of the reference material that you’ll find is about creating a vision.
In some respects, that’s because starting with a vision of the future is often much easier to do and then it can serve as a foundation to articulate your mission – your “why”, your “mojo”, your “why I get up in the morning”…
Three tips to guide you in revealing your mission:
1) Characteristics of a well crafted mission statement:
- Guides decisions, big and small
- Helps point people in the right direction
- Determines how to invest your valuable time
- Directs the way for you to market your business
- Shows you how to create and shape your culture
2) Your mission statement can be a tool to streamline processes, help team members communicate and collaborate on projects, and determine, in real-time, how best to proceed in just about any situation.
3) When you put both together, you have the opportunity to improve your odds for business success by 85%. Because, the evidence has shown us that it’s not just about having a plan, it’s about having:
- The right plan
- Clarity of purpose
- A well formed outcome
- A plan that is driven by your vision and fueled by your mission
Talk about laser focus…!
Want to know more about how to craft your vision or mission statement? Find out how Strategic Planning and Visioning empowers your business or organization.