Vision and Mission statements are the most important sentences a leader can write! Here’s why: picture a leader who is leading a mountain climbing expedition and doesn’t tell anyone which mountain they are going to climb. This leader will probably have few followers mainly due to a lack of interest. Why would anyone follow someone that isn’t doing anything? What would the climbers pack for supplies, how do they prepare for the climb? Wouldn’t this be downright dangerous? A leader needs to tell his followers where the group is going. A business vision and mission statement gets followers on board – sometimes in a very significant way! This makes the journey easier, much more enjoyable and increases the chance of success.
The difference between the two is the vision statements is forward looking and the mission statement is in the present. The vision statement is an answer to a calling that strong leaders sense. It is bigger and extremely purposeful in meaning. It is a statement of what the business will become. It can be a statement about who the people will be or what assets the company will own or which customers will be served. It is all about looking forward five or ten years, in an ideal scenario, what the business will become. It should be the Mount Everest of mountains for your business and it is specifically this that separates good leaders from mediocre ones.
Many of you are saying as you read this that goals must be reasonable and easily accomplished. Goals are different than a vision statement. A business can always set goals within the business which are specific, measurable, agreeable, reasonable and timely but using this mentality in a vision statement is a path to mediocrity. Great leaders think big and don’t let negativity slow them down. Sure there will be some scepticism in the ranks and maybe a vision statement may not come to pass in its entirety. But great leaders would rather shoot for the stars and arrive somewhere close rather than settle for mediocrity. It also creates the environment within a business that says “We are doing something revolutionary here.” Do you want to work for a business that just wants to be mediocre? No, everyone wants to be a part of something significant in the world! Think big on this one and don’t let scoffers influence you!!
The mission statement should speak volumes about what a business does and how it operates. Think of this like a military mission. It should have a clear start, path to follow and a finish. Final products and services should be stated in this statement. It should not be complicated! If your business is very complicated spend some time distilling this into a single sentence. This sentence should be easy for anyone to understand. It should not be overly technical even if it is a high tech business. The challenge here is usually condensing the statement into a short memorable sentence that anyone can understand. Sometimes it helps to think in terms of the benefits to customers and what is in it for them rather than what is in it for you.
This is another key to success. Selfishness rarely results in a successful business venture. If you really are in a business that is doing something significant in the world the money will follow. If customers are seeing huge benefits in your products and services they will tell their network then the value of your offering goes up. If your mission is to only make money you may be better off working for someone else or investing in another business that IS revolutionizing the world.
These marketing and organization focus tools are of paramount importance for any organization to succeed because they add clarity for all stakeholders including shareholders and employees. They provide a memorable directive about the organization’s purpose. Vision and mission statements help shareholders, management and employees focus on the goals at hand. These are key elements for a business that is striving to achieve business goals.
Vision and mission statements are key components of any successful business, great leaders and of course the business plan. They build a positive team atmosphere and provide unwavering direction from the leadership through to all aspects of the organization and outside to vendors and customers. These statements are crafted with great care focusing on the success in a sustainable manner.
Let’s Build a Better Business!
Tom, The Business Planners