Clarifying your mission and vision is one of the most important exercises for your brand (and your organization as a whole!)
Mission and vision writing exercises can bring to mind word-smithed committee meetings or pulling teeth over commas… but don’t fear! The effort to create an energizing mission and vision statement is worth it. The process is designed to rally your stakeholders around a common, core purpose. It also will, hopefully, spark inspiration for your movement.
In this blog, we’ll cover the definition of mission and vision, how to create one, and why it matters.
The Difference: Mission vs. Vision
Vision statements are often confused with or used interchangeably with mission statements; this is incorrect. Because although both of these statements help define an organization’s direction, they do so in different ways: while a vision statement describes where the company wants to go in the future, a mission statement describes how the company will get there.
A vision statement describes an ideal state of the world, your category, or your organization. This is the place to dream big — and keep it brief! Your vision should be something that’s memorable and easy to understand. For example, LinkedIn’s vision statement is“Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.” You can see how that vision captures the company’s essence and inspires movement.
A mission statement is a short, written statement of your company’s purpose. Your mission describes why your organization exists and what it does to achieve its vision. It should guide the actions of your organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making.
Your mission is how you plan to achieve your vision …. It’s about the action needed to make that vision a reality.
LinkedIn’s mission statement: “The mission of LinkedIn is simple: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful” (LinkedIn).
How to create a mission + vision statement
Once you’re clear on the difference between mission and vision statements … It’s time to get to work.
How you approach creating your statements will be unique to your situation. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:
- Why are we updating our mission and vision statements? Why now?
- Who are the stakeholders of our organization?
- What do we see as the outcome of a new / refreshed mission and vision?
- When do we want to roll out the new mission and vision?
- How do we want to approach creating the statements?
The answers to these questions will help guide your approach.
Some additional reminders/tips for your approach:
- Remember that wordsmithing as a group rarely works out … instead frame any group discussions as getting to the essence of your purpose.
- Remind everyone that the mission and vision are statements that we all get to own.
- Reassure everyone that their voices are heard and matter, even if their favorite word doesn’t make the cut.
- Consider bringing an outside facilitator to help guide your stakeholder group in this process.
- Know who makes the final decision. Start with the end in mind — identify whether it’s a founder who will make the final call or if it will be a group vote.
The Work is Worth It
As we say at Flourish, the mission + vision are your north star. Everything you do as an organization from programs and services to marketing and communications leads back to the guiding mission and vision.
Your mission and vision are a decision filter to keep your activities on track. If it’s not actively achieving your mission and vision (aka mission drift!), then it’s time to re-evaluate or cut those efforts.
We’d love to hear from you! Have you gone through a mission/vision creation process? What were your highs and lows? Leave us a comment below. 👇
If you’re ready to have your brand begin clarifying your mission and vision, reach out to Flourish. We specialize in equipping purpose-driven brands to thrive. Contact us today!