Mission and Vision Statements have been crafted by organizations for years. Attention to mission statements and vision statements are warranted, as studies indicate that organizations having Mission and Vision Statements quite simply outperform those that do not.

As an owner, manager, or leader of anything, you need access to self-growth tools to help you define your team's true and complete purpose, as well as the team's desired future. Here are a few varied snapshots from the e-book Mission and Vision Statements: Your Path To A Successful Business Future to show the difference these statements can make in your business and life:
• A family-owned inn had operated for three generations without turning a profit. The business covered basic expenses, but extra money was always scarce. Within one year of creating a mission and vision statement, the inn reaped a profit of more than half a million dollars.
• The public works organization for a city benefited from the use of mission and vision statements and applying them. “It helped me to get a real team sense and feel for our Department” says a Public Works Director of his mission and vision journey. “I also had more credibility with the team. I was able to make it work so that it benefited the employees, so they felt good about their position. It helped give me more credibility with the people I worked with and more cooperation from them – a great win-win situation.”
• A director for a non-profit organization describes how this approach helped him sort out the questions to answer. He says “To see within me the themes repeating themselves caused me to really focus on what I am about. I found that “catchy” words lost the heart of it. Because of the process I soon formed the language and passion of the true meaning of what was deep within me.” As the organization continued to align their Mission and Vision Statements with strategic activities and actions, they got results. They increased in size by 50% and many more satellite organizations resulted, all sharing a common mission and continuing to use the process to refine and reflect their shared vision for the future.

The CEO of a financial services company recently went through the e-book exercises to develop their mission and vision statements and he says “our company has benefited greatly since the inception of the mission statement. Every company, family, couple or individual should have one.

Then why is it that in some organizations these statements do little more than signify a loss commensurate with the costs: books purchased, speakers and consultants hired, and seminars held. Well, when expectations are not met, these statements are seen as being a waste of time and money and an organization continues to function as it always has.

This scenario plays out too often. Mission and Vision Statements are not solutions – they are tools that must be used by willing and capable managers and supervisors. These tools fail to live up to expectations often because of a lack of upper management commitment. Where Mission and Vision Statements have succeeded there is top to bottom unequivocal support – it is required.

How can any organization, regardless of the type or size, become truly successful if they cannot answer the 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 the difference between a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement and the role of each.

A Mission Statement is a declaration as to why an organization exists and defines the business the organization is currently in. Mission Statements concentrate on the present and are a reflection of an organization’s core competencies – the basic skills or products provided.

A Vision Statement focuses on the future. It states what you want the organization to be. Vision Statements come from the heart as well as the 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 the 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 the direction that should be pursued. As the Cheshire Cat in the 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 the 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 the 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 the organization. This is key to ensuring that the 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 the concept. Some management tools fail to affect any change; but here is one that will do so if properly implemented. Therefore the 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 the typical problem driven business.

Author's Bio: 

Don Midgett is the Managing Partner for the GenesisGroup, helping organizations and leaders discover their full potential. Don is an authority on vision driven change and the development of tools and workshops to create the required change.

To learn more about how you can have effective Mission and Vision Statements and for a complete step-by-step system to develop your own unique Mission and Vision Statements, go to www.missionvisionstatement.com and order the e-book “Mission and Vision Statements: Your Path To A Successful Business Future.” This seminar and workshop condensed in an easy to use e-book covers: what you should know before creating your business mission and vision, exercises to develop your statements, how to test-drive your mission and vision and living your mission and vision. For workshops, speaking engagements or teleseminars, contact the GenesisGroup at 805-646-1740.