The San Diego Zoo is “the world leader at connecting people to wildlife and conservation.”
Sony ‘”is a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.”
These are powerful vision statements.
Strong vision and mission statements can be the funnel through which you make decisions and select goals. They make prioritizing tasks easier.
Vision and mission statements will save you time.
A vision statement is the big idea of what you are working towards as a goal. Gordon D’Angelo, author of Vision: Your Pathway to Victory, describes a vision statement as “the definable intention from which preparation is formed.” It is a mental image of what you believe is possible.
Your vision expresses how you want to be perceived in the world and the legacy you want to share with others. It is deeply connected to your core values. Your vision is future-oriented. It should be concise and easy to remember.
A mission statement is an action statement that reflects your vision. It clarifies (1) what you want to do, (2) who you do it for, and (3) how you do what you do. It is a broad declaration of your purpose that distinguishes you from others.
Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, insisted that vision and mission statements are “more powerful, more significant, more influential than the baggage of the past or even the accumulated noise of the present.” Strong vision and mission statements ground you with purpose and provide clear direction.
Tips to Create a Powerful Vision Statement
A vision statement focuses your efforts. It clarifies your identity and priorities. It raises your standard of excellence, provides meaning to every task you want to accomplish, and strengthens your commitment as you move forward towards your goals.
James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors of Envisioning Your Future: Imagining Ideal Scenarios, encourage you to consider the following questions as you write a vision statement:
- Does your vision statement provide a powerful picture of what you want to experience in 3 to 5 years?
- Does your vision statement include a description of your future?
- Does it represent a dream about what you think is possible?
- Does it provide a larger sense of purpose?
- Does it clarify your focus?
- Does it create enthusiasm and inspire you?
- Does it connect to your core values?
What words express your strengths, core values, and beliefs? How can they be included in your vision statement?
How to Create a Mission Statement
A strong mission statement is directly tied to your vision. It is action-oriented. It describes how you plan to execute your vision.
The American Red Cross “prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”
ASPCA strives “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
UNICEF “fights for the survival and development of the world’s most vulnerable children and protects their basic human rights.”
These strong mission statements clearly state what they want to do to serve others and specifically defines who they want to serve.
Use these questions as you write your mission statement:
- What are the needs of those you want to serve?
- How are you or your organization uniquely qualified to meet those needs?
- What values and principles are important to you?
- How are your gifts and core values reflected in service to others?
- What accomplishments do you want people to remember about you?
- How would others describe what you do as a community or organization?
- Is your mission statement rooted in your strengths, unique capabilities, resources, and assets?
A powerful mission statement clearly defines what you do, how you do it, who you do it for, and the value you bring to those you serve. Your mission statement will provide you and members of your organization with a framework and purpose for creating future goals.
Vision & Mission Statements: Your Directional Compass
When I meet with groups to create vision and mission statements, it is not uncommon for some individuals to protest, “Is this really necessary?” They often want to charge into creating goals and posting tasks on the calendar without any clear direction or purpose.
Tasks without purpose often result in pointless discussions and unnecessary arguments. Goals without a vision and mission are like arrows without a target. Strong vision and mission statements become the filter through which future goals are created. They make the planning process easier, reduce conflicts, and save time.
Transformational change expert, Michael Beckwith, insists, “You know it’s a good vision if it’s too big to accomplish on your own.” When you and members of your organization align your goals and decisions with your vision and mission statements, it becomes clear who you are, the values you embrace, and the ways through which you want to serve others. Strong vision and mission statements encourage collaboration and unite members of your group.
Your core values serve as your directional compass. They guide your choices and goals for the future.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
When you have clear vision and mission statements, you do not need standards or principles dictated by someone else because you are grounded in your own sense of purpose. As you align and prioritize your goals with your vision and mission statements, you possess a clear lens through which you choose to view – and serve – the world.
How can vision and mission statements be helpful to you or your organization?
Find more suggestions to create strong vision and mission statements in my goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide.
Use these tips and discover How to Write SMART Personal Goals.
Napoleon Hill explains Why You Need a Definite Chief Aim.