When we engage a client in strategic planning as part of our leadership development programs, we often get asked two questions:
1. “What is the difference between a Mission Statement and a Vision?”
2. “Why do we need one anyway?”
Our answer usually is…”if you don’t know where you are going any old path will do”. In other words, without the clarity of meaningful purpose and a compelling future it is difficult to define and achieve any kind of real success.
Put simply, a Vision Statement is a shared image of what we want the organizations enterprise to become, a desired and aspirational future state.
Consider these thoughts when building your Vision Statement in your strategic planning process:
- This is typically expressed in terms of sustainable value to the customer or stakeholder whose approval can affect the organizations destiny.
- Its future focused orientation asks the question “How do we want those we care about to perceive us?"
- A good vision statement usually has within it an element of higher purpose, and is something considered worthwhile.
A Mission Statement defines how the organization does its business each and every day.
- It clearly identifies the customer and their need of the organization (otherwise we would not be in business).
- The organizations value proposition and its special means, by which they add value, is what makes them truly extraordinary.
Being really clear and anchored around the two elements of mission and vision affords the organization the opportunity to now think critically and evaluate their success in fulfillment. It also leads to defining the common approach set of core values of “How we want to work together?” required to achieve the mission and vision.
When we begin strategic planning with a client we most often start with these four questions that provide overall guidance to future focused planning.
1. Who are our customers that we exist to serve?
2. What is it they need from us; otherwise we would not be in business?
3. How do we add value in fulfillment of their need?
4. What makes us truly extraordinary in delivering our value?
About Dave Hoy
Dave’s first career was as a highly successful national champion college basketball coach. He shifted careers to work in organizational development and over the past 20 years has brought his passion and experience in leadership and facilitation to dozens of organizations supporting; individuals, teams and entire organizations achieve high levels of performance and extraordinary results. Dave holds a M.A from the University of Alberta, an MBA in Human Resources from Royal Roads University and is an ICF Certified Executive Coach.