Vision Statement vs. Mission Statement: What’s the Difference? (Explained)

  • By: Adam Wire
  • November 13, 2023
Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Every results-driven organization should have a vision statement and mission statement. While the two are closely related, there are important differences between them. A vision statement outlines a strategic plan of what an organization wants to become in the future, while a mission statement defines what it currently does and its overall purpose. Each serves its unique role in helping a business or organization chart a course.

For instance, an organization’s vision might be to become the global leader in corporate governance or customer service. To support the vision, the organization may invest in first-class technology like board meeting management software, with a mission to improve efficiency.

This article delves into the differences between vision and mission statements, and how to write each, so you can use them to develop a clear path for your organization. 

What is a Vision Statement?

A vision statement is a declaration of an organization’s goals and values that guide its purpose and overall mission. It outlines what the company wants to become in the future and is usually written in aspirational language. A good vision statement should be concise, easy to understand, concretely define the company’s desired future state, and encourage employees to strive toward it.

How to Write a Vision Statement

The section below outlines the foundational steps you need to take when writing a vision statement.

  1. Brainstorm potential goals. Begin by brainstorming potential goals for your organization. Consider where you’d like it to be in five years and what you need to do to achieve that future state.
  2. Identify core values. Think about the values that will guide your organization toward its desired future state. What principles will help drive success?
  3. Draft your statement. Once you have a clear idea of your goals and values, craft them into an aspirational statement that expresses your organization’s desired future state simply and concisely.

Vision Statement Examples

Here are some examples of vision statements from well-known companies:

  • Amazon: “To be earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
  • Coca-Cola: “To craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body and spirit, and to make a difference.”
  • Tesla: “Accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”
  • Sony: To be the most comprehensive entertainment company in the world. 

Note that each statement is concise, easy to understand, and aspirational. They also lean toward customer service, an important value to each company.

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What is a Mission Statement?

A mission statement defines what an organization does and why it exists. While a vision statement expresses the organization’s desired future state, a mission statement outlines how it plans to get there. For example, if you’re a nonprofit advisory board, your vision might be to improve corporate decision-making, while your mission is to provide guidance and expertise to organizations through board meetings.

How to Write a Mission Statement

When crafting your mission statement, follow these four steps:

  1. Identify your target audience. Who does your organization serve? This will help you craft a customer-focused statement.
  2. Outline your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Keep these goals concise and specific.
  3. Describe your organization’s values. Consider what matters most and will guide operations, like integrity, innovation, and customer service.
  4. Draft the statement. Once you’ve identified your target audience and outlined goals/values, craft them into a simple statement that expresses your organization’s purpose.

Mission Statement Examples

Here are some examples of mission statements from well-known companies:

  • Nordstrom: “To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.”
  • Starbucks: “With every cup, with every conversation, with every community – we nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection.”
  • LinkedIn: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
  • Patagonia: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

In each case, these mission statements outline how the organization plans to reach its vision by focusing on specific goals and values. 

Getting Started With OnBoard

Whether you’re an executive director or sit on the executive committee, you need technology to help streamline your operations and align them with your organization’s mission and vision. OnBoard is designed to help you achieve just that. Our board meeting management platform powers business excellence by providing the tools boards need to create, manage, and share materials.

The platform enhances collaboration and ensures everyone is on the same page, regardless of their location. Plus, it’s easy to use and provides encrypted security when sensitive materials, like balance sheets and income statements, are shared.

Among OnBoard’s notable features and capabilities are:

  • Agenda builder: Create agendas using an intuitive interface, which allows you to quickly drag and drop items onto the agenda.
  • Voting & approvals: Organize, track, review, comment, and approve decisions.
  • Video conferencing integrations: Experience the freedom of flexible, efficient, and secure board meetings with Zoom and Microsoft Teams integrations.
  • Meeting analytics: See anonymized and aggregated real-time insights into committee performance. 

Download our FREE board meeting minutes template to learn how OnBoard can help your organization achieve its vision.

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About The Author

Adam Wire
Adam Wire
Adam Wire is a Content Marketing Manager at OnBoard who joined the company in 2021. A Ball State University graduate, Adam worked in various content marketing roles at Angi, USA Football, and Adult & Child Health following a 12-year career in newspapers. His favorite part of the job is problem-solving and helping teammates achieve their goals. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. He’s an avid sports fan and foodie who also enjoys lawn and yard work and running.