Companies and organizations the world over write mission and vision statements to be a guiding light for their affairs. Mission and vision statements are important foundational elements of any organization. There are no requirements for organizations to have both, but most do. The mission and vision statements have different purposes and they’re not interchangeable. With so many economic and societal changes right now, it’s good for organizations to revisit their mission and vision statements from time to time.
If organizations are going to have mission and vision statements, it’s important to do them correctly. It’s not uncommon for boards to put mission and vision statements together hastily. What some believe to be a mission statement is actually a vision statement and vice versa. Part of the reason this is important is because there is a link between vision and mission statements and performance. According to a study by Bain and Company, organizations that align their mission and vision statements with their strategic plan perform better than those that don’t plan their mission and vision statements carefully.
Why the Mission and Vision Statements Are Important
The mission and vision statements are a vital part of an organization’s infrastructure. They give everyone involved in the company a shared purpose and direction. The mission sets the direction for the company’s goals and the vision should light a path for how the organization can get there.
These statements establish part of the framework for expected behavior and give employees and volunteers a sense of cohesiveness. When they are developed well, the mission and vision statements become part of the culture.
The Difference Between Mission and Vision Statements
An organization’s mission describes the overall purpose of the organization. It paints a picture of what the organization currently is and will be doing for the next one to three years. The mission statement describes what you do, who you do it for and the benefit that it provides. It’s usually a short statement — something that all employees can easily recite and be proud to wear on a T-shirt.
Conversely, the vision statement pertains to where the company or organization hopes they will be going in the future if they can fulfill their mission. The vision should be worded so that it provides guidance and inspiration. It’s a forward-thinking statement that should be fulfilled in the five- to 10-year time frame.
We can learn a lot from current examples of mission and vision statements from existing companies.
Here are a few:
Mission Statement. We believe that childhood is a celebration, and the colorful prints and cute characters we design are inspired by the joy and love children bring into our lives. We celebrate childhood by supporting babies, children and families with thoughtful designs, quality materials and construction, and convenient shopping options. You can count on Carter’s to take care of the little details so that you are free to focus on what really matters: celebrating your little one – and the hugs, cuddles, giggles and babbles that light up our lives.
Vision Statement. Our vision statement encompasses our values and beliefs. We strive to conduct our business in a manner that reflects this vision: “At Carter’s, we embrace creative leadership, innovative teamwork and a winning spirit to be the best for the benefit of our customers, our consumers, our employees and our shareholders.”
Carter’s Inc. also shares their corporate values publicly:
- Act with integrity
- Exceed expectations
- Succeed together
- Inspire innovation
- Invest in people
Mission Statement. “To attract and attain customers with high-valued products and services and the most satisfying ownership experience in America.”
Vision Statement. “To be the most successful and respected car company in America.”
Mission Statement. “NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. To meet that goal, NAMI is building a movement. We seek to broaden public awareness and inclusion in every part of our alliance. We seek to increase our visibility and impact; strengthen our voice as a unified organization of lived experiences and maximize our outreach to and engagement with all communities.”
Vision Statement. “NAMI provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. To meet that goal, NAMI is building a movement. We seek to broaden public awareness and inclusion in every part of our alliance. We seek to increase our visibility and impact; strengthen our voice as a unified organization of lived experiences and maximize our outreach to and engagement with all communities.”
Mission Statement. “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Vision Statement. “To provide access to the world’s information in one click.”
Dollar Tree takes a nontraditional approach to its mission and vision. They have a mission statement and a distinct description for their corporate values, but no vision statement.
Mission Statement. “Dollar Tree, Inc. is a customer-oriented, value-driven variety store operating at a one-dollar price point. We will operate profitably, empower our associates to share in its opportunities, rewards and successes; and deal with others in an honest and considerate way. The company’s mission will be consistent with measured and profitable growth.”
Attitude — Responsibility, Integrity, Courtesy
Attitude is everything, and often contagious, which is why we strive to keep a positive attitude in every situation. Whether we are serving customers or working with fellow associates, we are courteous, act responsibly and carry ourselves with integrity.
Judgment — Do the Right Thing for the Right Reason
What is best for our customers and what is best for our company and associates are guiding principles in every business decision we make.
Commitment — Honor and Respect for Self & Company
From customer to coworker, Dollar Tree associates treat everyone with whom they interact with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
Board Management Software Is the Modern Solution for Adhering to the Mission and Vision
An organization’s mission and vision statements are interwoven in every action they take and in every decision they make. The modern approach to strategic planning and oversight is for boards to use a BoardEffect board management solution where boards and managers can discuss issues in complete confidence. Changes in mission and vision statements become an important part of a company’s history. BoardEffect’s board management system has unlimited cloud-based storage, which will preserve all an organization’s important documents and discussions about why they decided to make major changes like updating the mission and vision statements.
BoardEffect supports a modern approach to governance so that boards and leaders can make the best decisions that lead to the best possible outcomes.