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Creating a Vision and Mission Statement

Posted about 2 years ago

I’ve been asked by the editor of Qualtiyworld to write a short piece on how you develop a company’s vision and mission. Here is a quick summary:

Intelligent companies use mission and vision statements as powerful sign-posts that provide clear and succinct directions about the purpose and aspirations of the company. However, this will only the case if they are real and not just boring platitudes iterated by successive chief executives that say much the same things that other firms expound.

Mission statement articulates the organisational purpose, basically why the company exists, what id does and for who. Mission statements serve as ongoing guides that provide clarity and focus on a day-to-day basis. Loot at Google’s mission: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Vision statement outlines the goals and aspirations for future results. It creates a mental picture of a specific medium-term target and is as a source of inspiration. Wal-Mart’s vision was: “To become a $125 billion company by 2000” and the JFK Memorial Hospital’s vision is “To be the first choice for health and medical services for residents in the Eastern Coachella Valley”.

In reality, mission and vision statements are often a muddled stew of goals, values, aspirations, philosophies, strategies and descriptions. A good way to start the process of creating vision and mission statements is by asking key people in the organisation to answer these two questions:

What is the core purpose of the organisation? What do we do and for who? Where do we want to be in 5 or 10 years time? What are our aspirations?

You can then take the answers from these questions and draft something that can be discussed and finalised in a meeting. As another element of strategic boundaries don’t forget the values statement which articulates the desired behaviours…

For more check out the Qualityworld magazine.

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