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How can any organization, regardless of type or size, become truly successful if they cannot answer fundamental questions “Why do we exist” and “Where are we going?” Mission and Vision Statements answer these all-important questions. It is important to understand difference between a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement and role of each.
A Mission Statement is a declaration as to why an organization exists and defines business organization is currently in. Mission Statements concentrate on present and are a reflection of an organization’s core competencies – basic skills or products provided.
A Vision Statement focuses on future. It states what you want organization to be. Vision Statements come from heart as well as head. A Vision Statement represents a realistic dream for an organization and forces it to take a stand for a preferred future.
Mission and Vision Statements are critical to success of strategic planning. A Mission Statement identifies a starting point or current state of business, but a Vision Statement is necessary for an organization to determine direction that should be pursued. As Cheshire Cat in Adventures of Alice in Wonderland explained to little Alice, “If you do not know where you are going, it does not matter which road you take.” Without clarity of vision, your strategic plan – your roadmap to achieve your vision – may prove useless. A strategic plan that is not constructed using a Mission Statement as its foundation and a Vision Statement as way to set attainable goals for a foreseeable future usually send an organization into planning limbo.
In addition to their importance in strategic planning, effective Mission and Vision Statements have other visible benefits. These statements: •Help with decision making •Articulate a reason for being •Create organizational unity •Help link diverse organizational units •Provide focus and direction •Motivate organizational members toward a more desirable future
Once Mission and Vision Statements have been developed, they must be continually communicated, tested and lived by those within organization. This is key to ensuring that vision stays alive and works. Mission and Vision Statements are essential for an organization’s successful future but they do not come about without deliberate effort and commitment, by both employees and management.
The oftentime hesitation by an organization’s leadership is understandable. By their very nature, Mission and Vision Statements will bring about change and change is typically accompanied by additional costs and risks. However, rather than fear it, management must embrace concept. Some management tools fail to affect any change; but here is one that will do so if properly implemented. Therefore focus should be on ensuring that an organization’s mission(s) and vision(s) are properly aligned and used so that their benefits can be realized. Be a vision driven business or organization rather than typical problem driven business.
Don Midgett Author
Don Midgett is Managing Partner for The GenesisGroup, helping organizations and leaders discover their full potential. To learn more about effective Mission and Vision Statements and Don go to www.missionvisionstatement.com For workshops, speaking engagements or teleseminars, contact The Genesis Group at 805-646-1740.