Updated: Mar 9
Without a quality mission and vision statement, you are lost.
I am a big fan of mission and vision statements. As far as I'm concerned, every professional and every business should have them, clearly defined and prominently displayed. Strategic and tactical planning should all be done with these statements in mind. Dedicating a small amount of time to generating a mission and vision can be nothing short of transformative for your organization, personal life, and career. Simply put, it is well worth your time.
It is incredible to me how many professionals and businesses don't have firmly established mission or vision statements, or even worse, have them but are indifferent towards them. It is also shocking how many have crappy, ineffective ones.
Well, anything worth doing is worth doing right. In this article, I'll show you how to build and leverage great mission and vision statements. If decisions are made largely with these frameworks in mind, you will mitigate the risk of getting off track and set yourself up for unparalleled success in 2021 and beyond.
What is the Difference Between a Mission and Vision Statement?
Truth be told, most professionals don't know the difference between the two, and you will often see mission and vision statements that are expressing nearly the exact same concepts. Here it is, broken down simply:
Mission: what do you do, how do you do it, and who do you do it for?
Vision: what does the world look like if you were to accomplish all of your goals?
A quality mission statement will establish a unified foundation for your business and its employees. It can help keep teams from getting lost and motivates them to reach towards a common goal. A poor one can lead to confusion, lack of unity, and cause costly miscommunications.
A quality vision statement will inspire innovation and growth. Employees and team members will be able to visualize the broader impact of their efforts and the large-scale, karmic value of their success. This wider context is absolutely essential for the younger generations of our workforce. Companies without a clear vision should not exist in the first place and often don't survive.
Having a set of statements isn't enough. You must have them clearly visible and easily accessible. They must be central to your onboarding, training, and strategic planning processes.
Every employee must have these statements memorized.
All decisions should be made with the mission and vision of the organization in mind. We must ask ourselves, "Does what we are planning/doing align with our mission and vision?"
Many professionals will create separate mission and vision statements for their personal lives and their careers. I strongly suggest doing so!
Employee, team, or family buy-in is essential.
I personally have a business mission and vision and a personal mission and vision. I shared them with my wife (who is the smartest person I know) for feedback and buy-in. I have them printed and hung on my wall, and I review them every Sunday during my weekly planning.
Getting Started is the Hardest Part
Your statements don't have to be perfect right away. If you allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the prospect, you will never get it done. Just dive in, tweak here and there over the span of a few days, and then solicit feedback from a trusted friend, family member, or mentor. Do not insist on getting this done in a single sitting -- after all, we are talking about the establishment of a company-wide direction and values that can endure for the lifetime of the entity, here.
Start with a brain-dump. Write down words, phrases, or ideas that represent the what, how, and who as well as your ideal vision for the future. Feel free to draw pictures. Post-it notes on a wall work nicely.
Start formulating sentences. An effective way to get buy-in is to have your team help with this part of the process in an open forum setting.
Ensure that your mission statement exists purely in the what, how, and who territory and that your vision is, well, a vision. Use engaging action words for your mission and try to paint a vivid picture with your vision.
Sit on it. Tweak, edit, then solicit feedback from a trusted colleague or mentor. Self-impose a deadline for completion.
When you are finished, make these statements visible and accessible, and be sure to integrate them with all angles of your business and planning.
If you get stuck, look to other organization's mission and vision statements for examples -- especially if they are respected and well-known for effective teams and a positive employee culture.
My 2021 Mission and Vision Statements
To prove that I actually practice what I preach, I'm happy to share what I've personally developed for this year. I do this exercise annually. You'll notice on the bottom that I actually take things one step further and establish a "mantra animal" for the year as well, one which embodies traits and characteristics that I aspire to develop or nurture.
I will positively and deliberately cultivate, steward, and nurture my relationships, my family, my self, my community, and my finances with grace, empathy, self-discipline, vigilance, and patience.
The happiest, healthiest, and most fulfilled family unit possible -- mentally, physically, socially, developmentally, and financially. Multiple camping excursions and a big family vacation to the Pacific Northwest required!
I endeavor to help professionals leverage their authentic voices through educational programs and coaching in order to embolden their brands, elevate their careers, and cultivate fruitful, lucrative powerhouse networks.
By the end of 2021, I will have an influential brand with an engaged, cross-platform community of over 100k, land my first paid conference keynote (or TEDx talk), generate multiple paid offerings that enable me to pay off all debts, and donate over $10k to worthy causes and organizations.
Mantra: The Elk 🦌
Patience, stamina, endurance
Community, relationships, protection, nurturing
Success, action, self-confidence
There you have it. If you wish to have a separate mission and vision statement for your personal life I would definitely recommend starting there, then moving on to your business or career statements. After all, your professional aspirations should absolutely align with your personal and family development goals.
Have any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section or hunt me down on various social media platforms.