In the last blog, which will actually be one of four in a series, we outlined the purpose of an organisation, not to make money, that’s the result; the purpose is to find end keep customers by providing them with something of value. 

This blog is about the organisations vision and mission …

The next in this series of blogs will be about the organisational behaviours, the values, that the company exhibits and the final blog will seek to bring things together in an attempt to fuse your mission, vision, values and purpose statements into a North Star to be used as a guiding light.

So, let’s start off with a few reminders…

Vision: The vision is your destination, it’s the aspiration, it’s future focused and usually describes where you want to get to and what success will look like…when you get there. 

Mission: The mission statement is your vehicle, it’s the perspiration, it’s focused on the here and now, it usually describes what you do and what you get paid for and it often attempts to set you apart from your competitors.

Wikipedia cites Vern McGinis, who suggests“a mission should:

  • Define what the company is
  • Exclude some ventures
  • Be broad enough to allow for creative growth
  • Distinguish the company from all others
  • Serve as framework to evaluate current activities
  • Be stated clearly so that it is understood by all

At this point, it should be noted that in developing these statements, it is highly unlikely that they will be got right overnight.  Each statement will need to be developed and “word-smithed” over a period of time.  Indeed, as the various (mission, vision, values, purpose) statements are developed you may need to re-work earlier statements so they create, eventually, a coherent whole. 

How To Write A Vision Statement

Step 1 – Lean on your purpose.

Having created the organisational purpose, lean on it. The organisational purpose, the subject of the last blog, starts with articulating the benefits and capabilities delivered to the client base, that is, what are the needs that the company is being paid to meet?

The key issue you are looking to answer here is how does what your organisation does, improve people’s lives? How do you make the world a better place?

Step 2 – Look into the future … five to ten years.

This is your future gazing…imagine a future world in which your business is competing well in or even dominating a market. What does that world look like? How is it different from the current reality? And how can you get there? Things to consider might include:

  • What would the company look like if it were twice the size, or even bigger?
  • What is the geographic reach?
  • What are the products and services sold?
  • Should you embark on strategic partnerships? If so with whom?

Step 4 – Describe what success looks like.

This is about what sets you apart from your competitors; what makes you different? It is especially about how you use that difference as a springboard to leapfrog the competition.

Be succinct and clear with your definition.

Step 4 – Reference your competitors or create an analogy.

Sometimes a competitor’s reference or an analogy helps, especially, if you are a smaller company building into a new niche, consider referencing an organisation that your people would quickly recognise. This will allow them to create an immediate picture of your vision, for instance;

“We want to be the You Tube of the engineering training market”

However, you describe it, this “future world” is where your vision statement should live.

Having drafted, or at least made a few notes, on your vision statement, let’s begin on the mission statement.

Steps to creating a mission statement

Step 1: Develop Your Difference or Your Winning Idea

The mission is about what you do and how you do it, so start with articulating and codifying your organisation’s “winning idea,” sometimes called your unique selling proposition (USP). This is the idea, approach or thing that makes you stand out from your competitors; it’s the reason that customers flock to you and not your competitors.

Step 2: Clarify Your Goal

Next, make a short list of the most important measures of success for this idea.

For instance, if your winning idea is to create cutting-edge designs for the interiors market, how will you know when you’ve accomplished your goal? If your idea is to provide excellent customer service in a particular area, what key performance indicator will let you know that your customers are properly satisfied?

Essentially, you need a general idea of what the ultimate success looks like, so that you know when you’ve achieved it.  To use a famous example Bill Gates version for Microsoft was:

 “A computer on every desk, and in every home, running Microsoft software.”

What next?

It’s unlikely that you have perfected these mission and vision statements at the first attempt.  More likely, you have simply got bundle of notes, but that’s fine.  Share the notes and gradually refine the statements over a series of workshops until you have a set of concise statements that express your ideas, measures and a desired result.

Keep these statements in the present tense, and ensure they are short, simple, clear, free of jargon and inspiring, but don’t include additional adjectives just so it “sounds better.”

The next blog will focus on organisational values and the final blog will bring everything together…

Downloadable resources

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• Better strategies
• Better systems
• Better measurement and 
• Engaged people delivering 
• Better results

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