No day-long corporate strategy session or weekend retreat can survive for long without two things being forced upon everyone to ponder and pander over:
- Mission Statement
- Vision Statement
I’ll confess, I’ve never had a strong grasp on the differences between them. Most vision statements I’ve seen would pass for mission statements and vice versa.
But then I heard them both explained this way, and it made all the difference in the world. I first saw this expressed by Christopher S. Penn. Chris manages to simplify and clarify both the mission statement and the vision statement so well that none of us have an excuse to mix them up any longer.
The Actual Difference
- A mission statement answers the question: “Why are you here?” Put another way, “What is wrong with the world and how do you intend to fix it?”
- A vision statement answers the question: “What will the world look like after you finish changing it?”
Good stuff, huh?
What I like about these two definitions (can questions be definitions?) is that they clearly separate the two (mission and vision) and spotlight the need for both of them.
A mission motivates you with purpose. A vision motivates you with a destination. And we all need to be motivated by both.
About Brett Duncan
Brett is a founding partner with Strategic Choice Partners, and an experienced executive specializing in marketing, communications and digital strategic consulting.
He worked for his first direct sales company two days a week while still in college packing shipments in their warehouse from 5 until midnight. He began at the entry level of the marketing department at AdvoCare, International in 2002, rising to the position of marketing manager before he left in 2007. In 2009, he joined Mannatech as Sr. Director of Global Online Solutions. He was then promoted to Vice President of Global Marketing in 2011.