What’s it: A vision statement is a written statement about what your company will be in the future. Some experts describe it as a future position your company wants or dreams of. It is an integral part of strategic planning because it becomes the framework for determining what your company should do to achieve it. In addition, it serves as a guide for day-to-day decisions within your company.
A vision statement is often juxtaposed with a mission statement. Vision describes the desired future as you, as the owner, aspire to. Then, you break it down into the overall goals of the organization. In other words, a vision is about what the future will look like if your company achieves the mission you built.
Why is a vision statement important?
Vision is important because you will try to develop various ways to make it happen. Here are reasons to explain why vision is important to your company:
Directions guide. Vision shows where your company should go. So, when you know where to go, you can decide what to do and prepare.
Motivation. By knowing the direction to go, it becomes motivation and inspiration for the people in your company. It unites them to jointly realize the vision you build.
Priority. Strategic planning requires a vision and mission. It helps the management in your company in setting priorities in designing strategies and allocating resources. That way, they ensure resources are directed and working towards achieving common goals and objectives.
Contribution. Having a good vision directs your employees on how they can contribute. You break down the company’s vision into various objectives, including strategic, tactical, and operational objectives. By breaking it down into objectives, you tell your employees how they should contribute and, for managers, guide them in allocating resources effectively.
Harmonization. Vision helps align resources, activities, and decisions made within the company. Departments or divisions synergize with each other to achieve the vision.
What is the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement?
A vision describes what your company wants to achieve. It tells the position your company wants in the future. It’s about dreaming for your company, not for customers, partners, or shareholders. It is about your company’s dreams, goals, and values. It was designed to be as concise as possible but meaningful.
A mission statement states what your company’s business is and why your company exists. It explains your company’s goals and provides the context in which the strategy is formulated. It identifies the scope of your company’s operations, particularly concerning the products you offer and the markets your company serves.
The mission you build supports the vision you have developed. It serves to communicate the goals and direction of your business to stakeholders. It tells the world what your company does and how to do it.
Finally, the company’s vision is enduring, rarely changing even if the business environment has changed. It may be valid for a period of up to ten years, or sometimes even longer.
Meanwhile, the company’s mission may change along with the dynamics in the business environment in which your company operates. That’s because the mission talks about customers, products, markets, technology, and company image.
What are the characteristics of a good vision statement?
The following three criteria are important in making a good vision statement:
Imaginative. Visions are often abstract and imaginative, but you can achieve them. It is not bound by details because, indeed, it is sometimes difficult to describe it clearly with current resources or capabilities. It’s beyond what it is now, though that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to achieve.
Brevity. A good vision statement should be short, simple, clear, business-specific, and forward-looking. About 35 words are ideal; some may consist of 2-3 sentences. On the other side, if it’s too long, it makes it difficult to communicate effectively.
Focus on the future. Vision does talk about what your company will look like in the future. It offers a long-term perspective and is unlikely to be affected by the market or technological changes. In other words, it rarely changes.
What are some examples of a vision statement?
In the following, I present some examples of vision statements from the world’s major corporations. I took it from the comparably.com site:
- Amazon: “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.”
- Google: “To provide access to the world’s information in one click”
- Microsoft: “To help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.”
- Nike: “We see a world where everybody is an athlete — united in the joy of movement. Driven by our passion for sport and our instinct for innovation, we aim to bring inspiration to every athlete in the world and to make sport a daily habit.”
- Starbucks: “To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.”
- Toyota: “To be the most respected and successful enterprise, delight customers with a wide range of products and solutions in the automobile industry with the best people and the best technology.”
- Walmart: “Be the destination for customers to save money, no matter how they want to shop”