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mission and vision

I’m often surprised at how many companies and organizations don’t have mission and vision statements.

Does your company or organization have them? Do they reflect how you feel about the company or organization?

The reality is that most mission and vision statements are boring.  They don’t stimulate conversation and are often too complex — or too simple.

What’s the difference between the two?

The comparison reference site Diffen offers this explanation of how one statement differs from the other:

The Mission Statement concentrates on the present; it defines the customer(s), critical processes and it informs you about the desired level of performance.

The Vision Statement focuses on the future; it is a source of inspiration and motivation. Often it describes not just the future of the organization, but the future of the industry or society in which the organization hopes to effect change.

Who Cares About Mission and Vision Statements?

Okay, so what?  Who really cares about these types of statements? And how should they be used?

Those who should care are your stakeholders — investors, employees, customers and suppliers, community, government and trade associations, etc. And the best way to use mission and vision statements is to guide strategic decisions and educate and inspire team members.

They don’t need to be posted front and center on your website.

Instead, the first thing that people should see on your website is something that conveys your brand, which is how people feel about your product, service, or organization. Why what you do or produce matters to them. Why they should choose you.

Most mission and vision statements don’t do this. Nor should they.

Revisit and Revise

So when is it time to revise your mission and vision statements?  At a minimum, you should review them once a year with key stakeholders and ask these 5 questions:

  1. Does the mission statement make a compelling declaration about your purpose and values? Reflect your responsibilities to stakeholders?
  2. Does the mission statement say what you do and what makes you different?
  3. Is the vision statement realistic and achievable? Is it memorable?
  4. Does the vision statement say where you want to be?
  5. Do both reflect how people feel about your product, service or organization? (i.e., your brand)

If you haven’t done this in a while, you’re not alone.  Many mission and vision statements end up in the Land of Forgotten Toys.

Go find ’em and start playing with them again.

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Sara_Marberry_Sq

Sara Marberry, EDAC, is a healthcare design knowledge expert, thought catalyst, and strategic marketing and business development consultant. The author/editor of three books, Sara writes and speaks frequently about industry trends and evidence-based design. She can be reached at [email protected].

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