Just as companies develop a business plan to define their markets, their strategy to compete, and operational structure to succeed, it is an important idea for companies large and small to develop mission and vision statements. Done right, they can provide alignment and direction across the enterprise and inspiration for all employees and stakeholders.
A mission statement defines the fundamental purpose of your organization. It is not measurable, per se, but rather a statement defining your company’s reason for being. It’s best when kept brief, long-term oriented, and inspiring. For example, Google's mission statement is “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Where a mission statement defines a company’s purpose, the vision statement describes what the company wants to achieve in the future. It is your long-term dream, concentrating on the future, and outlining what the organization wants to be, or how it wants the world in which it operates to be. The vision statement is more often a source of inspiration than the mission statement, and also can provide clear decision-making and behavior expectations.
For example, Tesla's vision statement reads: “to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world's transition to electric vehicles.”
So why take the time to do create these statements? The first is alignment. Merely doing the work to gain agreement on a company’s mission and vision statements can be a powerful exercise in getting everyone on the same page about the purpose of the organization and where it wants to be in the future. In addition, it can be a compass for company behavior.
For example, with Southwest Airlines' emphasis on customer service in their mission statement, they let all stakeholders know that the behavior they care most about is being friendly and service-oriented to their customers: “dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit."
In addition to providing alignment, creating your mission and vision statements can be inspiring to you, your employees, and your customers. For example, AutoDesk's vision is "to help people imagine, design, and create a better world."
While not all companies and organizations may feel they need these statements, certainly companies who are innovating in technology and truly changing the lives and lifestyles of so many are missing an opportunity if they don’t.
Have we inspired you to create your mission and vision statements? Check out our webinar, Storytelling for Technical Brands for more tips. Or if you are ready to get started, reach out to meet with a TREW Specialist.
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