Benefits of Vision and Mission Statements

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Vision and mission statements (VMS) are tools used by organizations to set priorities, build unity and give directions to its members. While the two separate terms “vision” and “mission statement” are often lumped together and used interchangeably, they are in fact very different.

 

An organization’s vision is often called its “future state.” It describes what the organization hopes to be in the future. It is a long-term, lofty goal that sets the tone for higher achievement within the organization.

 

A mission statement is short-term, usually 3-5 years, and describes the organization’s “current state.” The mission is more detailed than the vision because it outlines how the organization will go about achieving its vision.

 

VMS help an organization:

  • Guide strategic planning and implementation
  • Define performance standards and expectations
  • Establish a more productive, goal-oriented corporate culture
  • Communicate its purpose and goals to outside stakeholders1

 

Despite the importance of VMS, many organizations, especially small businesses, do not have them. One survey of 220 small businesses found that:

  • 64% did not have a written mission statement
  • 7% had mission statements that were only accessible to senior managers
  • 29% had a written mission statement accessible to all employees2

 

Why do so many businesses fail to develop VMS? Managers believe:

  • It will take too much time or money to develop them
  • Employees already know what the organization values and what is expected of them
  • Members of the organization will be resistant to change or be unable to reach a consensus3
  • Their organization is too small to warrant having VMS4

 

Jennell Evans of Psychology Today describes poorly written or non-existent VMS as “lost opportunities,” because having them could have a positive impact on:

  • Recruitment and retention
  • Employee engagement
  • Corporate culture
  • Productivity
  • Management decision-making
  • Organizational and inter-personal unity5

 

A clear, concise vision can be a powerful tool and motivator when it is highly visible within the organization. Employees can rally behind a common goal that clearly benefits themselves and the organization. A clear mission, likewise, can help improve employee satisfaction and productivity. When an employee knows what is expected of them, they enjoy a greater sense of purpose, and can better focus on daily tasks that will help them realize role and organization-related goals.6

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