Mission And Vision Statements – Building A Strong Strategic Planning Foundation

If you are operating without a mission statement or vision statement, what are the driving factors for your strategic planning?  Some companies use a shotgun approach to planning.  They throw a bunch of goals at the wall to see what sticks.  There is a better way, which is to develop annual plans that help your company hit the target you defined in your mission statement and vision statement.

Mission statements and vision Statements are key foundational pieces of planning.  Think of the mission statement and vision statements as the rudder to SS YourCompany.  They guide your staff and company, now and in the future.  No matter your size, every company should develop both.

Now let’s discuss how to create your mission statements and vision statements.

Mission Statements:

The first one we will discuss is the mission statement.  They should be short, easy to memorize and inspirational.  The first thing a mission statement does is answer why you are in business and what the purpose of your organization is.  Think about why your company exists.

Mission statements are built on the following information about the company.  What market do you serve, who are your customers and why they do business with you?  What product or service do you provide? What are you known for or what do you want to be known for?   Think about what makes your company unique.

So in the development of your mission statement, you will need to get input from your team.  It can also be useful to look at other company’s mission statements for ideas and inspiration.  Once you have the input and other examples, which could include previous versions or your company’s mission statement, you need to get a team together and spend a couple of hours brainstorming why you are in business.  Put ideas on post it notes so they can be moved around in an order that makes sense or easily removed.  You should try to get the main focal points in order before you spend any time wordsmithing the mission statement.

Here are some mission statement examples that clearly show what theses company’s focus on.

Lowes:  “Lowe’s is in the business of providing products to help our customers build, improve and enjoy their homes. Our goal is to out-service the competition and be our customer’s first choice store for the products.”

Facebook:  “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”

Amazon:  “Amazon’s vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

Vision Statements:

Vision Statements serve a different purpose than mission statements.  Vision statements are developed to show where your company is going.  It is the companies guiding light that it follows for the next several years.  Having a vision statement is important if you want your strategic planning process that actually takes your company towards an end goal.   Think about it, if you don’t have a clear vision of where you want to go, you will aimlessly drift in whatever direction the tides take you.

Now let’s look at the components of a vision statement and how to go about creating one.  You need to make sure that your vision statement is clear and that people can easily understand it.  These are often only a sentence or two long.  You need to establish a time frame in the future, but no less than 5 or 10 years out.  They need to be forward thinking.  They need to stretch goals that would make your organization outstanding.  They can include number goals (how big or long) or competitive goals (being #1).

Let’s talk about how you develop these.  The steps are similar to those of the mission statement with only a couple of little tweaks.  The group you bring together to develop the vision statement need to envision what the future could look like in the time frame you agree upon.  If you tie your vision statement to 20 years into the future, what does your industry look like?  Make sure you are thinking big.  Once you have that mindset in place, the group needs to then project into that future to think about how they would write the headline in the business section of the local paper when you achieve this goal.  That headline can be your vision statement.

Here are some examples of vision statements.

Nike:  “To be the number one athletic company in the world” in the 1960’s it was “Crush Adidas”

Alzheimer’s Association: “Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s”

San Diego Zoo:  “To become a world leader at connecting people to wildlife and conservation”

IKEA:  “The IKEA vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. We make this possible by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them”

Avon: To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women – globally”

Both mission statements and vision statements should be developed before you implement strategic planning.  You want you’re planning to be in line with the mission and vision of the company.  The statements are also important in creating a winning culture where everyone knows what the company stands for and where it is going.  If you don’t have these statements completed, commit to starting the development process now.

On a final note, don’t create these and have them sit in a binder or just as an electronic file on your computer.  Turn them into wall art so they are visible every day to your staff, suppliers and customers.

Please share your thoughts on what has or has not worked for you when developing your Mission and Vision Statements.

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David Domos developed WhyBuyFromYou.com to provide content to help small businesses develop their branding, marketing and sales systems. In the past he held key leadership positions for a fortune 500 company. That company led the market in both sales and brand awareness and David was a significant contributor to its growth. David has been on the Amazon.com best seller list in their Direct Marketing, Communications and Entrepreneurship categories. He is a student of sales, marketing, branding & small business growth, continually focusing on the reason people buy. Follow him on Twitter @WhyBuyFromYou or visit www.whybuyfromyou.com.

Posted in Goals, Mission Statement, Strategic Planning, Vision Statement
3 comments on “Mission And Vision Statements – Building A Strong Strategic Planning Foundation
  1. john treace says:

    David, short but excellent article…will try to connect with you on LinkedIn

  2. David Dodge says:

    Hi David.

    I really liked the simplicity of your presentation of mission and vision statements. I am currently in a career search and believe the mission statement clearly has an impact in the resume development – what makes you unique.

    The vision statement also has great impact for the interview discussion;

    Company’s vision – State how skills can help company achieve their vision

    Answers Question – where do you want to be in five years?

    Answers Question – why do you want to work here?

    Now I need to apply this knowledge to ‘up my game’ and improve my hirability.

    Best regards,

    Dave Dodge

  3. Faith Sheaffer-Polen says:

    David – thank you for this well-written, simple article. This is exactly the information I have been looking for ever since beginning my new position 6 months ago. I am saving this and beginning the process with my team next week. This is the first article that actually made sense to me. Happy 2013!

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