One focuses on the future, and the other guides you there. Learn the key differences between a mission and vision statement.
In the most stripped-down terms, your company’s mission statement tells consumers, competitors, stakeholders, investors, and potential talent how your organization addresses real-world problems right now. Your company’s vision statement tells the same groups how your organization imagines its role now and in the future.
The board ensures the trajectory of the organization’s mission (the day-to-day actions of the company) aligns with the organization’s vision (the future). Since boards have term limits for members, it’s essential that the vision statement is clear, concise, and simple, so newer members have a clear understanding of their role and purpose. Your organization’s vision might be complex, but a vision statement must reduce complexity. The same holds true for a mission statement.
Successful organizations are simultaneously mission-driven and vision-driven. Learn the key differences between a company vision and company mission, and how to write each.
What is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement consists of one or two sentences that convey the “why” of your organization. Why does a problem need to be solved? Why does this organization exist? Sometimes managers and employees become so focused on details they forget exactly why they’re creating a product, providing a service, or taking on a social issue. A vision statement guides decisions and keeps board members on task. Every decision a board makes should reflect the vision statement.
How to Write a Vision Statement
Follow these steps to craft a compelling vision statement.
1. Define Unique Value Proposition
Marketers use unique value propositions to attract potential customers. These propositions tell the customer what they can expect from a company. From a vision statement perspective, an organization’s unique value proposition encapsulates the company’s business strategy. Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema broke down the three value disciplines companies tend to use when defining their value proposition.
- Operational Excellence
- Customer Intimacy
- Product Leadership
Narrowing your value proposition to one of these three helps streamline your vision statement. It tells the board of directors where your organization places its priorities, which is essential when it comes to making long-term, strategic decisions.
2. Use Present Tense
While a vision statement visualizes the future, it should be acted on and written in present tense. This helps keep it direct and succinct.
3. Keep it Short
When you scroll through the sample vision statements below, notice how each statement is short. Anyone reading your vision statement should understand what your organization values.
Vision Statement Examples
Gather inspiration from these vision statement examples.
- We will help people live longer, healthier, happier lives. — CVS
- To be the most comprehensive entertainment company in the world. — Sony
- Video communications empowering people to accomplish more. — Zoom
- Accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing mass-market electric cars to market as soon as possible. — Tesla
What Changed for Boards in 2021?
What is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement addresses the “how and now” of your organization. A mission statement needs to relay the organizations’ business purpose, objectives, and approach to meet those goals.
How to Write a Mission Statement
Follow these steps to keep your mission statement brief, over-arching, and informative.
1. Define Business Goals/Objectives
To define goals and objectives, consider the strategies and actions needed to bring your vision to life. What does your business do, and who does it benefit?
2. Tell a Story
Your mission statement should tell your company’s story. Telling a story allows your company to demonstrate its value in a compelling manner, and helps showcase why your products or services matter.
3. Deliver Value
Your mission statement should show the benefits your product and service provides. While the vision statement shows future goals, focus this on the value you deliver now.
Mission Statement Examples
Use these memorable mission statements as a guide.
- To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible. — Nordstrom
- To build the web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution. — PayPal
- Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. — Patagonia
- To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. — LinkedIn
OnBoard Powers Business Excellence
Company mission statements and company vision statements are separate statements, yet their shared value is essential to a successful business strategy and implementation. Aligning vision with mission requires effective communication. OnBoard powers business excellence by providing a secure, user experience-oriented platform that facilitates communication and enables effective board governance.
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