Writing a Vision Statement: The Why
To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online – Amazon
Unleashing the power of innovation and collaboration to create cutting-edge security solutions that will empower you to bring your business into the modern era of interconnectivity. – Sectigo
To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles – Telsa
We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. – TED
Statements like these provide inspiration and direction for employees and other stakeholders, acting as a brand’s guiding light. A vision statement explains why a company exists at a high-level and coincides with the founder’s vision for a better world. And it should motivate employees, inspiring them to embody the company’s vision in their work every day.
Writing a Mission Statement: The How
We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience. – Amazon
In an exploding digital universe with mounting security threats, Comodo CA is the only trusted partner with the industry expertise and innovative technology solutions to help customers seize the power of the digital age while avoiding its ever-evolving risks. – Sectigo
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy – Telsa
Spread ideas. – TED
Mission statements turn vision statements into action and should focus on the business’s more tactical aspects. TED’s vision of changing the world through the power of ideas is put into action at its events where big thinkers and idea-generators share their perspectives. A company’s mission should be operational, procedural, actionable, realistic, and coincides with the steps and hierarchy for success. And unlike a company’s vision, the “mission” has everything to do with doing – and mission statements have everything to do with what the company will do to make the world a better place.
Both vision and mission statements guide everything from strategy, to procedural execution, to recruiting and hiring, to company culture as you scale. The statements should stem from your company’s elevator pitch, strategic plan and company values. Write these first, then use vision and mission statements to recap these materials so they can be understood by a wide audience.
Vision Is the Why. Mission Is the How. Now What Are You Waiting for?
In working with clients on vision and mission statements, some of the most common questions we get are around length, rigidity of messaging and good examples:
- On length: While many companies favor the one-liner approach, vision and mission statements can be as long as a couple paragraphs.
- On rigidity of messaging: A company’s vision and mission can and should evolve over time, as technologies and trends shape customer needs and preferences. The key is securing buy-in across the organization for any changes made, as vision and mission statements provide important templates for decision making.
- On good examples: Google your favorite companies, both inside and outside your space. Look for inspiration, but don’t just copy their work. Your vision and mission should be blue ocean: uniquely yours to claim and conquer. Square, disruptor of all things payments, has one of our favorite vision statements: “Building the future of commerce.” Broad for growth and succinct for sharing.
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