The Difference Between A Mission And Vision Statement

By Simeon Young

When I typed “the difference between a mission and vision statement” into my Internet search engine of choice I was rewarded with a wide range of links. Here are a few examples:

1. The vision statement is the big picture. The word “vision” means the conception of an image. In a vision statement you say where it is you want to go. The mission statement flows directly from the vision statement. It is the implementation of the vision and it outlines what must happen to realize the vision. It’s a “how-we-will-get-there” guide that contains action words and adjectives that modify them.

2. According to Deena Katz in her book On Practice Management, a mission statement is a blueprint of a company and a vision statement is an architectural rendering of what the company will look like once it is successfully established.

3. The mission and vision statements set the tone for not only your business plan, but also for your company. They define the path your company will follow and act as a guiding principle by which your company functions.

4. Your vision defines your long-term dream. It should not be achievable. That may sound ridiculous, but the objective is for your vision to always be just slightly out of your reach. It’s what you constantly strive to attain, and it becomes your reason for being. Your mission is what you intend to become or accomplish. It should be challenging but achievable. A well-written mission statement demonstrates that you understand your business, have defined your unique focus, and can articulate your objectives concisely to yourself and others.

5. A mission statement refers to what you want to achieve. A vision statement is how you intend to achieve it.

6. A mission statement concerns what an organization is all about. A vision statement is what the organization wants to become.

7. A mission statement answers three key questions: What do we do? For whom do we do it? What is the benefit? A vision statement, on the other hand, describes how the future will look if the organization achieves its mission. A mission statement gives the overall purpose of an organization, while a vision statement describes a picture of the “preferred future:’ A mission statement explains what the organization does, for whom and the benefit. A vision statement, on the other hand, describes how the future will look if the organization achieves its mission.

8. Your mission statement describes what business you’re in and who your customer is. As such, it captures the very essence of your enterprise-its relationship with its customer. Developing your mission statement is the step that moves your strategic planning process from the present to the future. Your mission statement must work not only today but for the intended life of your strategic plan of which your mission statement is a part. If you’re developing a five-year strategic plan, for example, you develop a mission statement that you believe will work for the next five years. A vision is not true in the present, but only in the future. Your strategy team will need to develop a compelling vision of the future. A vision that your employees will enthusiastically embrace, because the vision is worthy, and because it challenges them to grow. Your vision should project a compelling story about the future. When Steve Jobs said, “An Apple on every desk,” well there wasn’t then an Apple on every desk. In fact, there won’t ever be an Apple on every desk. That’s OK. The vision can be figurative, rather than literal.

Take your pick, or perhaps take something from each definition and come up with your own mission and vision statements.

Here are the vision and mission statements for the Pentecostal Herald:

Our Vision: The Pentecostal Herald in every Pentecostal home.

Our Mission: To publish an Apostolic magazine that strengthens the hands of Apostolic pastors, encourages and challenges Apostolic believers, and reaches beyond the doors of Apostolic churches.

From, “Forward Magazine”/November-December 2008/Volume 39, Issue 6/Page 11, by Simeon young

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