Creating a Vision & Mission statement for your business or department
Imagine going to work each day, full of purpose and conviction. People can be genuinely inspired if their organisation has a compelling vision and a clear, worthwhile mission; and these can be powerfully expressed in well-crafted mission and vision statements.
The two statements do distinctly different jobs.
Mission statements define the organisation’s purpose and primary objectives. These statements are set in the present tense, and they explain why you exist as a business, both to members of the organisation and to people outside it. Mission statements tend to be short, clear, and powerful. Mission statements answer questions such as:
- Why are we here?
- What is our purpose?
- Where are we headed?
Vision statements also define your organisation’s purpose, but they focus on its goals and aspirations. These statements are designed to be uplifting and inspiring. They are also timeless: even if the organisation changes its strategy, the vision will often stay the same. Usually, people write these statements for an organisation, or for a department or a team.
Developing a sense of mission requires focused strategic thinking, effective internal communication and a clear recognition of the value and contribution of the workforce. In some cases, a change of culture may be involved.
Decide who will coordinate the process.
The senior management team is usually responsible for establishing an organisation’s mission and setting strategic direction, so members will naturally be closely involved in the development of a mission statement.
However, you can also consider selecting a subgroup or putting together a project team with representatives from different departments of the business to coordinate the initiative. It is usually best for the process of developing a mission statement to be carried out internally, but the appointment of an external facilitator may be helpful if it is difficult to reach consensus, as he or she will be able to provide an independent and unbiased perspective.
Gather supporting information to gain a broad picture of the organisation and how it is perceived, gather additional information from internal sources such as corporate strategy and policy documents, marketing, branding and publicity materials, including the organisation’s website, and external sources such as press and online coverage, news reports and customer reviews.
A mission statement is a short description of the reason for an organisation’s existence, the business it is in and its ongoing purpose and direction. There is a fine but distinct line between a mission statement and a vision statement – the former explaining the organisation’s purpose and aims, and the latter giving a broad, inspirational image of the future of an organisation and what it aspires to be.
Communicate the statement and use it to build a sense of mission.
It is vital to develop a sense of ownership throughout the organisation as only employees can bring the mission to life in their daily activities and dealings with customers. Think about how to launch the mission statement and how to communicate it throughout the organisation.
Producing a mission statement does not automatically create a sense of mission – however, a mission statement can be used to provide focus within an organisation. Think about how to keep the organisation’s mission at the forefront of the minds of the employees.
Ongoing commitment to the mission can be reinforced by demonstrating the contribution made by departments, teams and individuals and highlighting the role played by individual projects and initiatives towards achieving the organisation’s mission.
Monitor and review.
It is important to monitor how well your statement has been cascaded throughout the organisation, how successful it is in developing a sense of mission and corporate identity and how effective it is in promoting the organisation’s image among broader stakeholder groups, including customers and shareholders.
Although mission statements reflect a long-term commitment, they also need to remain current, so make sure that the statement is reviewed regularly for relevance and validity. It is vital to ensure ongoing synergy between organisational mission and strategy – that on the one hand that the organisation is not being deflected from its core purpose and direction to the detriment of the business and its shareholders or that on the other shifts in emphasis or direction are not reflected in the mission statement.
TA Barker Associates, a training and consultancy business led by Tracy-Anne – ‘The Manager’s Mentor’ support hundred of managers each year, to lead motivated and engage teams to success. If your business could benefit from advice and support – get in touch for a no obligation conversation: Tracy-Anne@tabarkerassociates.co.uk