A mission statement is an organization’s vision translated into written form. It makes concrete the leader’s view of the direction and purpose of the organization. For many corporate leaders it is a vital element in any attempt to motivate employees and to give them a sense of priorities.
A mission statement should be a short and concise statement of objectives and priorities. In turn, objectives are specific objectives that relate to specific time periods and are stated in terms of facts. The primary goal of any business is to increase stakeholder value. The
most important stakeholders are shareholders who own the business, employees who work for the business and clients or customers who purchase products and/or services from the business.
A mission statement underpins the vision. It is necessarily more limited than a vision statement, and defines the organization’s market positioning. It is a brief and focused statement of purpose that communicates the essence of the organization to its stakeholders and to the public. It relates to how the organization is going to d business in order to fulfill its vision.
Questions Addressed by Mission Statements
• What is the purpose of organization?
• What is unique about the organization?
• What are its principal products and markets?
• What are its values?
• Where is it hoping to be in five or ten years’ time?
Vision is a short, succinct, and inspiring statement of what the organization intends to become and to achieve at some point in the future, often stated in competitive terms.
Vision refers to the category of intentions that are broad, all-intrusive and forward-thinking. It is the image that a business must have of its objectives before it sets out to reach them. It describes aspirations for the future, without specifying the means that will be used to achieve those desired ends.
A vision statement has been described as “a view of a realistic, credible, attractive future…a target that beckons.”
Good vision statements are inspirational, clearly understood and brief enough to remember. There are a variety of approaches to developing a vision statement, including:
o Reviewing the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats;
o Holding brainstorming sessions;
o Drawing graphic visions of the future;
o Conducting imaginary future trips through the agency or community;
o Pretending you are a planning committee from the future that is writing a report on accomplishments in the intervening years; and
o Exploring visions developed for other agencies or communities.
“To choose a direction, an executive must have developed a mental image of the possible and desirable future state of the organization. This image, is called a vision, and may be as vague as a dream or as precise as a goal or a mission statement.” (Warren Bennis, a noted writer on leadership)
At General Electric (GE) the vision is ‘We bring good things to life’.
The Ford Motor Company vision is ‘to become the world’s leading consumer company for automotive products and services’.
A vision statement presents an image of what an organization aspires to become. It explains the organization’s significance and how it will improve whatever marketplace in which it participates. Stated clearly the vision is where the organization wants to go, its destination.
In short, if the vision statement is where the organization wants to go i.e. its destination, the mission statement articulates how it will reach the destination i.e. its transportation
These are the few key principles that the organization seeks to uphold as it carries on its business. These guide the organization’s vision. They are considered as being fundamental to the success of the entity’s operations and stimulate relations with outsiders.
For instance, the United Nations Core Values are Integrity, Professionalism,
and Respect for Diversity.