The most searched term on my blog – by a very long way – is: “what is the difference between a vision and a mission statement?” I did a pretty comprehensive blog on this in September 2011, and then another entitled “Are Corporate Values Important?” in December 2011, which built on this discussion. Based on the obvious need to understand the difference between these two concepts, I thought a very quick blog summarizing the difference between vision and mission, in a very simple way, could be handy for all of those people landing here looking for answers to this question.
A vision statement is a short phrase detailing what a company wants to become in the future – it needs to be inspirational, aspirational and energizing. It should only be a sentence in length and must capture the essence of a company’s goal, but does not explain how you are going to achieve those goals. In essence, it needs to be visionary.
To be true to ourselves and others in everything we do.
A mission statement clarifies an organizations’ purpose and typically, needs to be about one paragraph in length. It should be unambiguous and to the point, integrating meaningful statements, such as: moral stance, how you want to be perceived, primary focus, your customers, who you care about, your presence and how you will grow.
To set the standard of excellence for communication across Asia Pacific. We will always strive to provide exceptional service to our customers. We will always be willing to go the extra mile to meet our customers’ needs. We will always work with great people and employ or partner with great people, and we will live a life that enables us to smile and laugh as much as possible. We will always aspire to be the best and to be passionate, in everything that we do, always.
If you look at my earlier blogs, there is a lot more guidance on how to build these out, but as a quick snap shot for those wondering which is which, I hope this helps. Of course, you may completely disagree, but the examples I included previously from industry leading companies (Virgin, Nike, Boeing, Harley Davidson, Apple, Ben & Jerry’s and Google, to name a few) back up what I’m saying – although even some of these leaders get it wrong in my opinion. There’s definitely a lot of confusion around this subject.
As I said in my corporate values blog – “the way I see it – your vision is what you strive for, your mission is how you’re going to get there, and your values are the sort of company/people you’ll be on the journey.”
Let me know if you agree and I really hope this helps those struggling to find clarity around the important aspect of a company’s messaging.