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4.7: Crafting Mission and Vision Statements

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  • Learning Objectives

    1. Learn about the basics of the mission and vision development process.
    2. Understand the content of good mission and vision statements.

    Communicating and Monitoring Mission and Vision

    At this point, you have an understanding of what a mission and vision statement is and how creativity, passion, and stakeholder interests might be accounted for. The actual step-by-step process of developing a mission and vision might start with the mission and vision statements, but you should think of this process more broadly in terms of multiple steps: (1) the process, (2) the content of the mission and vision statements, (3) communicating mission and vision to all relevant stakeholders, and (4) monitoring. As shown in “Process, Content, Application, and Monitoring in Mission and Vision Development,” Information Week contributor Sourabh Hajela breaks out one way you might manage your mission/vision development checklist. Let’s dive in to the development process first.

    Mission and vision statements are statements of an organization’s purpose and potential; what you want the organization to become. Both statements should be meaningful to you and your organization. It should be shared with all of the employees in the organization to create a unified direction for everyone to move in.

    Figure 4.11



    While crafting a mission and vision is not easy, it helps to follow the right steps.

    tanakawho – Stepping stones – CC BY-NC 2.0.

    Process, Content, Application, and Monitoring in Mission and Vision Development

    • Let the business drive the mission and vision.
    • Involve all stakeholders in its development; otherwise, they won’t consider it theirs.
    • Assign responsibility so that it’s clear how each person, including each stakeholder, can contribute.
    • Seek expert facilitation to reach a vision supported by all.
    • Revise and reiterate; you’ll likely go through multiple iterations before you’re satisfied.
    • Start from where you are to get to where you want to go.
    • Build in the values of the organization: Every organization has a soul. Tap into yours, and adjust as needed. Mission and vision built on your values will not just hold promise but also deliver on it.
    • Build on the core competencies of the organization: A mission and vision are useless if they can’t be put into operation. This requires recognition of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses.
    • Factor in your style: A mission and vision must reflect the leader’s style. You can’t sustain action that goes against it.
    • Make it visual: A picture is worth a thousand words.
    • Make it simple to understand: Complex language and disconnected statements have little impact—people can’t implement what they don’t understand.
    • Make it achievable: A mission and vision are an organization’s dreams for the future. Unachievable goals discourage people.
    • Phase it in: Reach for the sky—in stages.
    • Make it actionable: If it’s too abstract, no one knows what to do next.
    • Communicate often: Internal communications are the key to success. People need to see the mission and vision, identify with them, and know that leadership is serious about it.
    • Create messages that relate to the audience: To adopt a mission and vision, people must see how they can achieve it, and what’s in it for them.
    • Create messages that inspire action: It’s not what you say, but how you say it.
    • Use it: Beyond printing it, posting it, and preaching it, you also need to practice what is laid out in the mission and vision…“walk the talk”
    • Live it: Management must lead by example.
    • Be real: It’s better to adjust the mission statement as needed than to not live up to the standards it sets.
    • Identify key milestones: While traveling to your destination, acknowledge the milestones along the way.
    • Monitor your progress: A strategic audit, combined with key metrics, can be used to measure progress against goals and objectives.
    • Use external audit team: An external team brings objectivity, plus a fresh perspective.

    Sourabh Hajela

    Adapted from (retrieved October 29, 2008).