2. Mission and Values

Every organization requires a unique mission statement based on your core values and vision for the future.

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Establish your business’s vision, mission, and values to tell the world about your business accomplishes. Even if you have your business’s vision, mission, and values in mind, you need to commit those factors to writing to reflect the essence of your company.

Your vision statement: Defines your long-term aspirations. It explains why you’re doing what you’re doing and the ultimate good you want to achieve through your success. Think of your vision as the picture of where you ultimately want your work to lead you.

Your mission statement: Defines the purpose of your company and the effect you intend to have on the world around you. It states what you do for others and the approach you follow in order to achieve the aspirations you’ve set. Think of your mission as the route you’ll follow to achieve your vision.

Your business promise: Summarizes the positive difference you deliver to all who deal with your organization. Internally, your business promise guides the development of all elements of your brand. Externally, your business promise is sometimes translated into and presented as a motto or tagline.

7 Steps to Writing a Vision, Mission and Values Statement

  1. Gather Board Level Leadership. If you don’t have a formal board, pull together an advisory team. …
  2. Identify an Objective Facilitator. …
  3. Dream As a Group. …
  4. Share Ideas. …
  5. Examine the Statement. …
  6. Clarify the Mission. …
  7. Define Organizational Values.

Vision Statement

A vision statement is a statement of an organization’s overarching aspirations of what it hopes to achieve or to become. Here are some examples of vision statements:

  • Disney: To make people happy
  • IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people
  • Microsoft: Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more
  • Avon: To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women—globally
  • Sony Corporation: To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity

The vision statement does not provide specific targets. Notice that each of the above examples could apply to many different organizations. Instead, the vision is a broad description of the value an organization provides. It is a visual image of what the organization is trying to produce or become. It should inspire people and motivate them to want to be part of and contribute to the organization. Vision statements should be clear and concise, usually not longer than a short paragraph.

The Mission Statement

The vision statement and mission statement are often confused, and many companies use the terms interchangeably. However, they each have a different purpose. The vision statement describes where the organization wants to be in the future; the mission statement describes what the organization needs to do now to achieve the vision. The vision and mission statements must support each other, but the mission statement is more specific. It defines how the organization will be different from other organizations in its industry. Here are examples of mission statements from successful businesses:

  • Life is Good: To spread the power of optimism
  • Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis
  • Invisible Children: To end violence and exploitation facing our world’s most isolated and vulnerable communities
  • Honest Tea: To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages
  • Jet Blue Airways: To inspire humanity–both in the air and on the ground
  • Tesla: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy[2]

Notice that each of these examples indicates where the organization will compete (what industry it is in) and how it will compete (what it will do to be different from other organizations). The mission statement conveys to stakeholders why the organization exists. It explains how it creates value for the market or the larger community.

Because it is more specific, the mission statement is more actionable than the vision statement. The mission statement leads to strategic goals. Strategic goals are the broad goals the organization will try to achieve. By describing why the organization exists, and where and how it will compete, the mission statement allows leaders to define a coherent set of goals that fit together to support the mission.