Mission and vision both relate to an organization’s purpose and aspirations, and are typically communicated in some form of brief written statements. A mission statement communicates the organization’s reason for being and how it aspires to serve its key stakeholders. The vision statement is a narrower, future-oriented declaration of the organization’s purpose and aspirations. Together, mission and vision guide strategy development, help communicate the organization’s purpose to stakeholders, and inform the goals and objectives set to determine whether the strategy is on track.
These two statements do completely different things, so yes, your company should have them both. They state very clearly who your company is, what it does, and who your company does those things for. In order to give your company a solid foundation, you must develop a clear mission, a well-articulated vision and values that resonate with the customers you’re trying to reach.
A mission statement communicates the organization’s reason for being, and how it aims to serve its key stakeholders. Customers, employees, and investors are the stakeholders most often emphasized, but other stakeholders like government or communities (i.e., in the form of social or environmental impact) can also be discussed. Mission statements are often longer than vision statements. Sometimes mission statements also include a summation of the firm’s values. Values are the beliefs of an individual or group, and in this case the organization, in which they are emotionally invested. The mission statement describes six guiding principles that, as you can see, also communicate the organization’s values:
- Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.
- Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business.
- Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting and fresh delivery of our coffee.
- Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time.
- Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.
- Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.
Roles Played by Mission and Vision
Mission and vision statements play three critical roles: (1) communicate the purpose of the organization to stakeholders, (2) inform strategy development, and (3) develop the measurable goals and objectives by which to gauge the success of the organization’s strategy. These interdependent, cascading roles, and the relationships among them, are summarized in the figure.