What’s the Difference Between a Mission Statement & a Vision Statement

Mission, vision, values, and goals are all words that we know you’ve heard. If you are a leader within an organization, you’ve most likely had to put thought into determining what they are for your business. While they’re important to have, it’s even more important that what you have makes sense and brings value to your company.

Something that we often see is a blur between mission and vision and a lack of connection with them. While they sound similar, they do serve different purposes. It’s important to have them both, and they must resonate with you and your business.

What is a company’s mission?

Business News Daily notes that a mission statement should successfully communicate the purpose of your organization, or tell your audience what it is that you do. By setting a mission statement, you are working to set yourself apart from your competition and show that to your target audience and employees.

Mission statements should be well-thought-out and meaningful. By bringing on key team members to help you curate your mission statement, you will be able to successfully meet this goal. 

Tips for creating a mission statement

A generic mission statement won’t bring you any of the above-listed values. In fact, it can even hurt your business to have a meaningless mission statement. Here are some things to consider when writing a meaningful mission statement unique to your company:

  • Address your target audience, what your business is contributing, and how you stand out against your competitors
  • Ensure that you go below the surface to really set yourself apart within your industry by taking the time to answer meaningful questions about your company
  • Focus on a mission statement that’s informative and concise, has longevity, and clearly states “what your organization does”

Mission statements aren’t just something that you “have to have.” It’s something that you need to have to drive your company and your team into a successful future. 

What is a company’s vision?

Your mission statement is the driver leading your organization and the community it effects into the “future,” articulated through a vision statement. What do you want your organization to look like or accomplish? By setting this vision, you and your team know what the goal of your company is, and so do your customers and clients. 

Without a clear and significant vision statement in place for you, the leaders within your organization, and your team members, there won’t be a “why” driving your company forward as well as other consequence

Tips for creating a vision statement

When writing your vision statement, you must keep in mind that this is a goal you’ll always be working toward until your organization evolves and your vision changes. If it’s something you can get done by the end of the week and move on from, it’s not your vision. It will, however, help you define other short- and long-term goals that you will set over time. 

To get to your vision statement, it’s helpful to first start with your mission. What is the purpose of your company? What does your company do? Once you know this, ask yourself “so what?” Why does your company do this? Keep asking yourself this question until you no longer have an answer. That final “so what,” will help you craft the vision statement your organization will be striving to meet every day. Some elements that can help create a successful final vision statement include:

  • A focus on looking forward
  • Inspiration and motivation
  • Goal orientation for future “benefits and improvements” to the organization
  • A basis in why your company exists and where it’s going

Key differences between mission and vision

While missions and visions work together to bring value and purpose to your organization, they have different ways of doing this. Because they work so cohesively together, though, it’s easy to blend them and almost begin to use them interchangeably. One great way to keep them separate is to remember that you do and mission and you see a vision. Seems pretty obvious, right? However, those simple differentiations are easy to forget about when you’re deep in the complicated process of trying to figure out what they are for your unique organization. 

Additionally, SHRM informs us that Mission statements are focused on what your organization does. It will eventually help you set yourself apart from the competition. It ends up working to communicate the purpose of your business and dictates the intention “and direction to employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders.”

The vision statement is an actual glance into your organization’s ideal future as well as the future of the community you’re working to contribute to. What does the perfect situation look like that you’re always aiming to strive for? It will help you and your team members see this picture and visualize it as a potential future. 

To paint a better picture, our mission is “to craft powerful design that grows along with our clients through a life-giving process.” In other words, what we do every second spent working is striving to give our clients a design that’s more than just a design. We want it to reflect their own mission, vision, and values they have for their organization and help them flourish as they grow. In turn, our vision is “to see the culture around life and work uplifted.” Our vision is to see our clients and our community thrive professionally, and in life, through the tools we give them to help drive their success as a business. 

Without a meaningful mission statement, you won’t be able to successfully convey what you do to your employees, team leaders, vendors, stakeholders, or clients. Without a vision, none of you will be able to see the future for your company and the world that you can continuously work toward. So, it’s important to have both and they must serve their unique purposes!

In conclusion

Mission and vision statements are necessary components of a successful business. They work to communicate to your leaders, team members, stakeholders, vendors, and target audience why you exist, what you want to achieve, and how you’re different from other companies within your industry. Without them (or without meaningful ones), you won’t have a clear direction to move your company in, preventing you from moving forward and setting and achieving goals. 

Mission and vision statements serve different purposes in an organization, yet they work together to bring value and purpose.