Every thriving organisation has a set of objectives that keep them going. As much as possible, understanding the difference between vision and mission of an organisation helps the staff and other concerned bodies of such organisation to align themselves accordingly. With an understanding of what their mission and vision are, it will help the management team to define if the members are actually working towards the same goal or not. As such, this article is projected to answer every question you may have on the vision and mission of any organisation as well as the difference between the two.
For an organisation to move in a strategic direction, it is imperative for them to come up with their unique mission and vision statements. This is because it has been found out that vision and mission statements of companies are usually instrumental in the overall success of such an organisation. When there are a well-cast vision and mission statements, the management and staff of that organisation will be able to make the right decisions as they affect what their organisation stands for. This means that these two key concepts define the operations of the organisation and serve as reference points when making decisions.
More so, they are helpful to any organisation in that they help in measuring whether such organisation is really moving in the direction they aimed at or not. Therefore, for the purpose of this article, we consider each of these statements (vision and mission) and how they differ for a proper understanding of the two concepts.
Mission vision values definition
To begin with, it is important to understand what is mission. Based on the definition of Collins dictionary of a mission, it has to do with an important task that is given to someone to do. It can also mean a strong commitment and sense of accomplishment that someone has in the achievement of a particular aim.
Having understood what a mission is, it is also worth finding out what is a mission statement. In a nutshell, a mission statement has to do with the main goals or objectives that characterise or define a particular organisation. It gives a detailed information on pertinent issues relating to what an organisation stands for, what they do and how they do what they do. More so, it provides information on who they do what they do for. i.e their customers or target audience.
On the other hand, let us look at what is vision. The Cambridge dictionary defines it as an idea or mental image that one has about a particular thing. Relating this to the context of an organisation, a vision has to do with the mental image that an organisation has about what they do and who they do it for. Therefore, a vision statement can then be explained as the expectations that an organisation have or project to become at a time to come. Interestingly, this vision statement becomes a major source of inspiration and motivation that keeps everyone in such work environment going.
5 difference between vision and mission
Having explained what these two concepts are, then we can look into the difference between a vision and mission statements.
- While a vision statement talks about where an organisation wants to be within a particular time frame, a mission statement talks about how the organisation intends to get to where they have charted out. It could also be put this way that while a vision statement explains the "where to be" (destination) of an organisation, a mission statement explains the "how to get there" of the vision statement.
- Another noticeable difference between a vision and a mission statement is that while a mission statement provides the direction that an organisation is to follow, the vision statement explains the goal or the destination that the organisation must arrive at if they follow the direction (mission statement).
- A mission statement explains the business that an organisation would engage themselves in as well as the purpose and the approach with which they intend to pursue them. On the contrary, a vision statement explains the position that an organisation desires to be in the future. It talks about the state they want to occupy or the height they hope to attain at a particular time in the future.
- While a mission statement answers questions like "What are we going to do today?" "Who are we doing them for?" and "What benefits would be derived from them?" A vision statement gets answers to the questions, "Where are we going from here?" and "When are we going to reach the level?"
- Another core difference the two is that while the mission statement stands to guide an organisation in making a clear and effective decision, the vision statement ensures that every single decision that is made aligns with the level that the organisation aims to attain. With these concepts, decision-making in such an organisation becomes easy and effective.
How to write vision and mission statements
When you are coming up with the vision and mission statements for your organisation, as explained earlier, the following are some of the questions that should be answered in your statements:
Writing a mission statement
- What are we going to do today?
- Who are we doing them for?
- What benefits would be derived from them?
Writing a vision statement
- Where are we going from here?
- When are we going to reach the level?
- How will the destination look like when we get there?
Answering the questions above make it easy when you are coming with your vision and mission statements, no matter the type of organisation and what you do. Moreover, an effective vision and mission statement is expected to be clear and free from ambiguity, memorable, and easy to identify with. Then, it must be realistic and achievable; they must be such that inspire and motivate the people to action.
Importantly, bear in mind that the destination of a well-written vision statement must be clear enough. It should be descriptive in such a way that when you arrive there, it will be glaring or visible to everyone that you are there already. A reason for this is that it will help you to know if you are moving in line with what you have set out to achieve or not. Also, the result you are achieving will become measurable. By implication, you can compare the level you are at every stage with the ultimate destination in mind.
Difference between vision and mission with example
It has been explained that while a vision statement talks about the destination that an organisation hopes to arrive at, the mission statement explains how to arrive at the destination. The following are some examples of the vision and mission statements of notable organisations to have a better understanding of all that have been discussed so far:
- Mission statement: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
- Vision statement: To provide access to the world’s information in one click.
- Mission statement: To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
- Vision statement: People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.
- Mission statement: Utilize the power of Moore’s Law to bring smart, connected devices to every person on earth.
- Vision statement: If it is smart and connected, it is best with Intel.
- Mission statement: To enable economic growth through infrastructure and energy development, and to provide solutions that support communities and protect the planet.
- Vision statement: Our vision is a world in which all people’s basic needs — such as shelter, clean water, sanitation, food and reliable power — are fulfilled in an environmentally sustainable way and a company that improves the quality of the environment and the communities where we live and work.
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- Mission statement: Inspire the world with our innovative technologies, products and design that enrich people’s lives and contribute to social prosperity by creating a new future.
- Vision statement: Inspire the world. Create the future.
Vision and mission of school
Just as it applies to various organisations, educational institutions can also come up with their unique vision and mission statements. At least, this will enable every staff of the institution of learning to have a sense of direction as to what they are striving to achieve in the lives of their students. It will equally help them to know what is expected of each of them to do.
The principle that have been shared earlier also works here. Therefore, when coming up with their vision and mission statements, the management of a school should ask questions like:
- What will our school stand for?
- Where are we hoping to be in the future?
- How shall we get to where we are going?
- What would the destination look like?
- What benefits are in the accomplishment of our targets?
With these in mind, below is a sample of the vision and mission statement of The New School to have a practical understanding of the questions that have been raised so far:
- Mission statement: The New School prepares students to understand, contribute to, and succeed in a rapidly changing society, thus making the world a better and more just place. We will ensure that our students develop both the skills that a sound education provides and the competencies essential for success and leadership in the emerging creative economy. We will also lead in generating practical and theoretical knowledge that enables people to better understand our world and improve conditions for local and global communities.
- Vision statement: We are and will be a university where design and social research drive approaches to studying issues of our time, such as democracy, urbanization, technological change, economic empowerment, sustainability, migration, and globalization. We will be the preeminent intellectual and creative center for effective engagement in a world that increasingly demands better-designed objects, communication, systems, and organizations to meet social needs.
Having looked at the major difference between vision and mission statements, it is worth reiterating that any organisation which aims at achieving success must have their own unique statements. When this is settled, such organisation will be adequately guided in their decision-making process. More so, the members of staff working there will be able to align themselves accordingly. Then, to measure the rate of success of the organisation will become very easy.
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