Companies will often create a compelling reason or long-term objective as the rallying point for employees to see a future in their work. This translates into what is commonly called a vision or mission statement.
Many companies would even have their mission statement framed and prominently displayed in their foyer, visitor’s lounge, or entrance.
Being a facilitator on Corporate Vision and Mission Statements (which sometimes includes ‘Values,’ creating the acronym ‘VMV’), I find it interesting that many companies often have almost the same claim or promise: To be the leader, to be the leading, to be the most admired company, to be the eminent organization.
These claims, although noble in intention, do not seem to reflect what is ideally possible. So instead of being inspiring, some vision and mission statements come off as mere motherhood statements. To set the record straight, I’d like to share some points for a more critical understanding of vision and mission statements.
The Vision Is Your Purpose
Every organization and individual should have a purpose for existence. This is a core requirement so that you know what needs to be achieved.
A vision should be compelling in terms of its claim and time frame, which will bring a sense of urgency to the whole exercise. The purpose would then be a sort of umbilical cord that links employees or members to the organization. It sets the rationale for everyone, that is, why they are there.
The Vision Must Be Achievable
Companies should realize that over-promising or creating visions that would be highly unachievable has a negative impact on employee morale as well as servicing credibility.
Imagine setting a vision such as “To be world- class,” yet the owners are not willing to invest in the company and the training of its people.
What about “To be the leading and top-of-mind provider,” but then the employees are not paid or compensated properly. Even worse, the company’s supervisors and managers show poor management and leadership skills and display a lack of potential for ever improving.
The Vision Must Be Revisited
Even if you crafted the vision when you established the company, it does not mean that it is carved in stone. Actually, based on acceptable practice, vision statements should be revisited every two to three years to see if the claim is still applicable given current market trends.
The Mission Is...
What it takes to make the claim of the vision statement happen. The vision statement is only half the plot. The mission statement is created to ensure operationalization of the vision.
The Mission Clarifies the Foundation
You do this by identifying the critical attributes that the company would want to use to achieve the vision. Evaluate People, Systems, Technology, Place, Service, and Promotion to clearly identify what resources are available to you. After identifying the needed attributes, some companies add value by including adjectives to highlight how they are different from other companies in the industry. Examples would be customer-oriented personnel, state-of-the-art technology systems, etc.
Only One Mission Statement?
A common mistake of many companies is that they craft only one mission statement for their vision statement. Besides a holistic mission statement, the company must also consider its commitments to its stakeholders.
So create one mission statement for your shareholders, another for your customers, yet another for your employees, and maybe even one for your community.