Of all the question words, this one looms over your head like a hawk circling prey. The word gets especially confusing in business scenarios. According to Gallup research, only 41% of employees knew the reason in which their company stands and their company’s differentiating factors. That’s scary. This points to a problem with a lack of training or worse… weak, forgettable vision and mission.
Just got chills thinking about it! Don’t let your vision and mission go sour. Let’s talk about ways to revitalize them!
These two are commonly mistaken for each other. HubSpot does a fabulous job explaining the difference. A mission “clarifies the what, who, and why of a company”, while a vision statement explains “where the company wants a community, or the world, to be because of the company’s services.”
Basically, the vision statement is the why and the mission statement is the how. Vision is the purpose for a brand’s existence and explains the brand’s or company’s social responsibility.
A company or brand “why” is not impressive sales revenue, or the number of products sold. (Although it is nice when you have those things.)
Let’s start from the top. What problem do you wish you could solve as a person? Excessive waste? Poverty? Hunger?
Yes, we want to solve them all, but you have to narrow it down based on company/brand values. Visions are broader statements that need mission(s) to clarify them. For example:
“Here at MagicalUnicornCompany we work to save animals and people while protecting the planet we hold so dear.”
Okay, that’s great. How are you doing that? Are you creating minimal waste, providing clean water to needy areas, or using only cruelty-free products? A customer can’t possibly know what you’re about through that bland blanket of a vision statement. You need to supplement it with goals in your mission!
There is a way to be too narrow with your vision, as well.
“Here at MagicalUnicornCompany we work to feed all blonde zebras red oat grass.”
Now, this is incredibly over-exaggerated, but the point is clear. Blonde zebras are incredibly rare and the red oat grass makes this vision even harder to accomplish. This statement could be a means of accomplishing the goal of “saving the zebras”, but not a great vision. Extreme specificity can be a major pitfall in vision statements. Your company/brand must make promises that can be kept and continually push your team to be better!
There is a sweet spot between narrow and broad that is unique to every company or brand. Resources are essential to this sweet spot range. Some companies have access to funds, equipment, and people that make them more able to conquer larger goals quickly.
Smaller businesses may not have those specific resources in abundance, but in many instances, they have a group of dedicated individuals. Dedication, motivation, and determination are resources in themselves and are often harder to establish in larger settings.
Coca-Cola positions itself nicely in their sweet spot. They start out very general and save-the-world-y in their Purpose & Company Vision page, but establish achievable missions in their Sustainable Business page. Coca-Cola chunks out what they mean from that lofty business vision through each defining mission goal.
Fleshing out why and how requires hefty brain power. Once you do think you have it, take a day or two to let it settle. Ask yourself on a fresh brain whether the words in each statement accurately symbolize intentions. Unwavering dedication to the creation of strong vision and mission statements will prove to be invaluable in the brand/company journey.
And look at that… this mission just became possible!
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