In one of my last projects I was assigned to support the process of crafting an organizations mission & vision statement. In this post I would like to share some very basic topics related to this important and complex issue. In particular I would like to point out that this process is not about finding a catchy tagline, but about the complexity of considering stakeholder expectations, finding the company’s unique spot and providing a compelling picture of the future.
So what is it all about
Here is the one single pre-requisite for crafting a powerful mission & vision, that completely changes the debate: Focus on identifying the core influencers of the organizations employees – be it 1.000, 60.000 or 400.000. What drives this core influence of every human being is self interest & desire. At the end of the day, it’s the individual’s interest and benefit that counts in marketing a company’s story. Asking your employees to engage into a powerful vision and unite around a compelling story is not a job-related activity. It’s personal. You love it, or you don’t. So, this is about getting and keeping hearts and minds. Also, it is about controlling an organization’s conversation. It is to think of an organization as one big conversation. And the way you change it?
Getting the terminology right
- A Vision statement outlines what the organization wants to be. It concentrates on the future. It is a source of inspiration. It provides clear decision-making criteria.
- A Mission statement tells you the fundamental purpose of the organization. It concentrates on the present. It defines the customer and the critical processes. It informs you of the desired level of performance.
Vision & Mission: Where to & what for
As such, mission and vision bridge the gap between why you do what you do today and where you want be in a few years from now. It provides the path. A crystal clear picture that engages and energizes all employees, secures & maintains commitment and is pursued vigorously and relentlessly. It’s the task of drawing a vivid & crystal clear picture that is:
- describes a bright future
- engaging and memorable
“Now I can see it!” – is the response you want to get from people. Therefore, think of the vision picture as crystal clear as an image on a high-definition screen. Where every pixel is as sharp as your eye can bear. Think about sharpness that strikes you! That’s what makes all the difference! You can find a great resource of mission statements here or take a look at a really great and probably world-wide known example: Google’s mission statement.