By Mike Cieri, MSIR, Vice President of Mardac Consultants
Vision statement vs. mission statement
Wanting to help build engagement? A vision statement can help provide direction. A vision statement should not to be confused with a mission statement. The terms are often used interchangeably, but mission statements are present-day statements designed to convey a sense of why the company exists. A vision statement focuses on the potential of the organization, or what it intends to be. In other words, future-based, and are meant to inspire and give direction to the employees of the company, not anyone outside of the company. A mission statement answers the question “Why does my business exist?” while a vision statement answers the question “Where do I see my business going?”
Examples of Vision Statements:
Vision Statements can be short as well.
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society: A World Free of MS
- Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a decent place to live
- Cleveland Clinic: Striving to be the world’s leader in patient experiences, clinical outcomes, research and education
- Clinton Foundation: To implement sustainable programs that improve access worldwide to investment, opportunity, and lifesaving services now and for future generations.
Writing a Good Vision Statement
Looking at these vision statement examples should give you a good jumping off point for knowing what a vision statement is and how to write one. Vision statements are a challenge for many people because they aren’t sure what form the statement is supposed to take.
- A typical vision statement will be brief and succinct; it will say a lot in just a few words, so those words must be very carefully chosen.
- The key to a good vision statement is to think of things in a long-term, broad sense, without sounding generic.
- If you’re too specific, you will limit your vision and it won’t be applicable ten years down the road: for example, if your current goal for your business is to expand manufacturing capacity on site, that’s a vision for the future but it’s not the vision for the future of your entire business. It’s too narrow in focus.
- On the other hand, if you say that you want to achieve success – well, any business in the world could say that. It’s too generic. The best statement will be clear about who you are as a company as well as who you wish to become.
Writing a good vision statement isn’t difficult. Think about what your business does and what, in an ideal world, you would like it to do and how you would like to appear. Consider the services and characteristics that your company provides, then imagine how it would be if you provided the very best version of them possible. List those visions, and incorporate them into a brief statement that gives a good overview of the kind of image you want to represent.
About the author:
Mike Cieri, MSIR, is Vice President of Mardac Consultants and been in the Human Resource Management field for over 20 years. During this time he has held a variety of management positions, including several years on the executive management team of a large corporation as Vice President of Human Resources and Safety, as well as Vice President of Operations.