Mention “mission and vision statements” and you’ll receive one of two responses. For some people, the whole mission-and-vision effort results in glazed eyes and a dreary sense of futility. For others, the effort sparks enthusiasm and renewed purpose. There’s good reason for those two reactions.
What do you really want to accomplish?
The best type of vision statement is clear, succinct, and declares the ultimate goal of the business. This brief statement defines success. Microsoft’s famous vision statement is “A personal computer in every home running Microsoft software.” It’s simple and direct. In short, Microsoft won’t consider itself successful until it’s achieved worldwide digital domination.
The vision statement need not be perfect. You’re not writing the Great American Novel or composing epic poetry. However, in order to drill down to the very reason for your business, a list of probing questions will help. Entrepreneur Magazine suggests questions such as:
● What service(s) do you perform or what products do you sell?
● Who are your clients?
● Do you have employees and, if so, what value do they add to your business?
● What does this business do better than your competitors? What makes your business unique?
● How do you feel about the business? What about the business inspires you?
● How do you describe your business to others?
Here’s a hint: If the strongest words used above inspire negative connotations, then you’re in the wrong business. One CEO of an association management company explained her business: “We handle the administrative crap for professional and trade associations.” Needless to say, her employees’ morale tended to hover somewhere near rock bottom and coming up with an inspiring vision statement resulted in snorts of disbelief and eye rolls.
If you don’t believe that your company provides a valuable and necessary service, then why should your employees? If you dislike your business, then why should your employees feel any differently?
It’s not that complicated. Really.
As stated above, the best vision statement is simple and succinct. It shouldn’t be difficult to recall. It if is, then you’ve overcomplicated it. The trick is to use the words that describe what success looks like to your particular business. Forbes states that a good vision statement takes a great deal of effort to craft, but the resulting vision statement should not take a similar effort for customers and employees to understand.
Your business need not vie for world domination, but leadership should be able to define what success will look like in three or five years. If, in three or five years, the business doesn’t match that definition, then something went wrong and further analysis is needed. Some roadblocks to success can’t be predicted: a company owner’s untimely death, a stock market crash, tornadoes.
The vision statement for your business says, “This is our destination.” The mission statement says, “This is how we’ll get there.”
Enjoy the journey.
The Heggen Group assists business leadership with analyzing their corporate goals and procedures to develop feasible processes that guide business to success. We’ll help you figure out where you’re going and then how to get there.