Mission Statement vs Vision Statement

Companies summarize their goals and objectives in Mission and Vision statements. Both of these serve different purposes for a company but are often confused with each other. While a mission statement describes what a company wants now, a vision statement describes what a company wants to be in the future.

Comparison chart

Mission Statement

Vision Statement

About A Mission statement talks about HOW you will get to where you want to be. Defines the purpose and primary objectives related to your customer needs and team values. A Vision statement outlines WHERE you want to be. Communicates both the purpose and values of your business.
Answer It answers the question, “What do we do? What makes us different?” It answers the question, “Where do we aim to be?”
Time A mission statement talks about the present leading to its future. A vision statement talks about your future.
Function It lists the broad goals for which the organization is formed. Its prime function is internal; to define the key measure or measures of the organization's success and its prime audience is the leadership, team and stockholders. It lists where you see yourself some years from now. It inspires you to give your best. It shapes your understanding of why you are working here.
Change Your mission statement may change, but it should still tie back to your core values, customer needs and vision. As your organization evolves, you might feel tempted to change your vision. However, mission or vision statements explain your organization's foundation, so change should be kept to a minimum.
Developing a statement What do we do today? For whom do we do it? What is the benefit? In other words, Why we do what we do? What, For Whom and Why? Where do we want to be going forward? When do we want to reach that stage? How do we want to do it?
Features of an effective statement Purpose and values of the organization: Who are the organization's primary "clients" (stakeholders)? What are the responsibilities of the organization towards the clients? Clarity and lack of ambiguity: Describing a bright future (hope); Memorable and engaging expression; realistic aspirations, achievable; alignment with organizational values and culture.

Contents: Mission Statement vs Vision Statement

Vision Statement of the Toronto Zoo
Vision Statement of the Toronto Zoo

About

A Mission statement talks about what the company is now. It concentrates on present; it defines the customer(s), critical processes and it informs you about the desired level of performance.

A Vision statement outlines what a company wants to be. It concentrates on the future; it is a source of inspiration; it provides clear decision-making criteria.

Purpose

A mission statement is spelled out to narrate what the organization is about. It talks about what the company is right now. It lists the broad goals for which the company is formed. It discusses in details what the company does, what the structure is and what its plans are. A vision statement talks about what the company wants to be. It describes what the "vision" of the company is for its future. It lists where the company sees itself some years from now.

Features

Features of an effective vision statement include:

Features of an effective mission statement are:

This Slideshare presentation includes the vision and mission statements of companies in the Fortune 100:

Visions & Missions of Fortune Global 100 by Alar Kolk

Time frame

While a mission statement talks about the present, the vision statement talks about the future. The former mentions what the company is now while the latter describes what the company wants to become in the future. A vision statement mentions what the future will look like for the company if it follows the mission statement.

Developing a statement

When developing a mission statement, it should be seen that the following questions are answered:

When developing a vision statement, it should be seen that the following questions are answered:

Which comes first?

For a new start up business, new program or plan to re-engineer your current services, the vision statement will be formulated first as it will guide the mission statement and the rest of the strategic plan.

For an established business where the mission is established, often the mission guides the vision statement and the rest of the strategic plan for the future.

Video explaining the differences

References

Comments: Mission Statement vs Vision Statement

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