The Main Differences between Vision and Mission Statement
Definition and importance of vision and mission statements
The vision and mission statements are part and parcel of the core elements of strategic planning processes. These statements partly define organizations’ goals and they are very important in attracting and retaining talented employees as well as guiding them to use minimal resources to achieve the goals of an organization. Both vision and mission statements play a major role in building a productive culture in an organization.
Yet many companies fail to differentiate between these two statements and hence misled their employees and clients. Basically a vision statement communicates both the values and purpose of an organization and outlines the future goals and aims of the organization. The vision statement thus sums up the optimal achievements that an organization wants to make with time. This statement acts as a guide to employees and motivates them as every aspect of their work is aimed at achieving this future goal.
On the other hand, the mission statement defines the purpose and objectives of an organization while outlining what the organization is doing to achieve these set goals. The mission statement addresses the present needs of the clients and also values that the staffs must uphold in order to achieve the ultimate goals. Unlike the vision statements, the mission statements are more focused on the present state of an organization. Albeit, they have to be aligned with the vision statement because this is the ultimate goal of the organization. Mission statements often change with time and most organizations only use this statement for three years before altering it.
Contents of vision and mission statements
The vision statements and mission statements have different purposes that define their contents. Many a times organizations come up with wrong mission and vision statements because they are unable to differentiate the two.
The vision statement is often aimed at the future and as such must contain the following:
- What the company wants to achieve in the long run. This should be the overall objective of the company and its long term goals.
- The timeframe within which the company expects to achieve its long term goals. This can be five years or more.
- The broad strategies that the organization will put in place in order to achieve its goals.
Since it carries a lot of weight, the vision statement must be clear and unambiguous. It must also be aligned with the organizational culture and communicate all the above to both employees and clients.
On the other hand, the mission statement contains the following aspects:
- Where the organization stands at the present moment in terms of its purpose and objectives
- Definition of what the organization does and whom it aims to serve.
- Specific activities the organization engages in so as to achieve its present objectives
Order of vision and mission statements
Many people also get confused as to what should come first. Experts recommend that new organizations place their vision statement before the mission statement. This is because the vision will be used in deriving the mission statement as well as strategic plans.
Established organizations can have mission statements placed before the vision statements. This is because having long established the vision, the mission statements can be used as guidelines to achieve future organizational goals.
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