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Most companies and organizations have mission and vision statements, right? And most of them are downright boring. They don't stimulate conversation and are often too complex -- or too simple.

What's the difference between the two? Google it and you will find many references that explain it.  But I like this one from Diffen:

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?

The audience for these statements are your stakeholders -- typically defined as investors, employees, customers and suppliers, community, government and trade associations. Most believe that mission and vision statements are best used internally -- 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 matters to them.

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

Questions to Ask Each Year

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

  1. Does the mission statement make a compelling declaration about your purpose and values? Reflect your responsibilities to stakeholders?
  2. Does it say what you do and what makes you different?
  3. Is the vision statement realistic and achievable? Is it memorable?
  4. Does it 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, don't feel bad.  Many mission and vision statements go to the land of forgotten toys. Go find 'em and make them new again.

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Robin Orr

9 years ago

Most healthcare Mission Statements sound the same and collect dust on wall plaques and in binders tucked away in offices. Sound cynical...okay, a bit, but have toured several (at least 100+) health facilities as Executive Director of Planetree and President of The Robin Orr Group and that is what I've seen and experienced. There are of course, some outstanding examples of organizations that have found ways to make their mission, vision and values come alive everyday. These great examples insist on integrating these profound concepts into hiring practices and throughout the entire employee experience. And, not just staff, but all who interact with their organizations, yes that includes physicians and vendors! Not just words but actions! The flowery words and compelling declarations mean nothing if not integrated into every meeting, memo, function...
Let's commit to enliven our organizations with real world, everyday actions...then it will be worth taking the time to create such statements.

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What's my story? I'm a healthcare and senior living design knowledge expert who writes and speaks frequently about trends and issues affecting these two industries. I'm also a strategic marketing consultant and content creator, working with companies and organizations who want to improve the quality of healthcare and senior living through the design of the physical environment. You can reach me at .

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