Mission & Vision
Mission and Vision statements are crucial to the success of any organization. They are the frameworks that guide groups of people toward their goals and into the future. They are the compass that points to true north, inspired by our deepest values and convictions.
A vision statement, as defined in session 4 of PW’s Business Curriculum, is a brief, inspiring phrase stating what a business or organization intends to become and to achieve. Think of this as what you see in the future if you are successful in achieving your mission. A great vision statement is concise (average length is about 14 words), memorable, inspirational, and crystal clear. Make it something you could paint on the walls of your office to inspire your staff.
PW’s vision statement, for example, is rooted in Jesus’ words in John 10:10 and his mandate to serve the poor: “We aspire to end poverty so that all may have life and have it abundantly.”
A mission statement, on the other hand, is what you will do to bring your vision into reality. Our curriculum defines a mission statement as what a business or organization does best every day to accomplish its vision, including the who, how, where, and why. PW’s mission statement reads: “We mobilize long-term, hands-on global relationships to form a powerful Christian network that uses business as the way to create flourishing economic environments in all parts of the world.”
Mission statements are longer and more descriptive, but still catchy. They should be 1-3 sentences long, to-the-point, and full of active verbs like “radiate” or “catalyze.”
Why are Mission & Vision so important?
Another reason why compelling vision and mission statements are important: staff motivation and retention. A 2016 Gallup study indicated that when employees strongly agree that they know what their company stands for, 77% plan to stay with the company for at least one year.”
Just getting started?
As a first step, we recommend you go through Session 4 of the PW Business Curriculum for SMEs for an in-depth guideline of how to write powerful vision and mission statements. Let your local PW staff know if we can make this training curriculum available to you.
Additionally, we highly recommend the following tools and resources:
• A simple first-step for mission writing using Positioning Statements (from Strategyzer)
• 3-minute video on How to Write a Mission Statement that Doesn’t Suck
• Three great resources from topnonprofits.com:
– 30 Example Vision Statements
– 50 example mission statements
– A 1-page Guide to Creating Mission and Vision Statements
• Here’s an in-depth walk-through on the four-step process of Crafting Mission and Vision Statements, from Mason Carpenter’s textbook Principles of Management
• 2014 Gallup study on Why Your Company Must be Mission Driven
• Video interview with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Living Out the Company’s Mission and
Want to go deeper?
• Are the V&M Statements written down, documented, and consistent in all your printed materials, website, social media, etc?
• Do your staff and board know and agree with your vision and mission statements?
• Do your vision and mission statements guide your everyday activities and decisions? Are they truly your compass when it comes to making tough choices?
If yes to all of the above, keep up the great work! Make sure to communicate your vision and mission clearly and proudly to your staff, your clients, your community, your donors, and everyone you encounter. Let it be contagious, so your vision becomes synonymous with your organization.