Mission Statement Vs Vision Statement: What are the Key Differences

It’s easy to confuse a mission statement and vision statement for one another, considering their names are so similar. However, it’s important to know how to differentiate between them. Today we are going to have a close look at each of the concepts and see what makes the difference in the mission statement vs vision statement debate.

What Is a Mission Statement?

The mission statement is the one that drives the company. It represents the essence of the business, and it is the source of objectives and what it takes to get there. Moreover, it has an important impact on the company’s culture. Just by the definition alone, you can tell how much a well-set mission motivates a team to work toward its common goal.

On the other hand, a weak mission or having none can lead to a disaster. Just imagine mixed-up silos, flailing, miscommunications, and a total lack of motivation from your team.

What Is a Vision Statement?

The vision statement is what heads the company in a certain direction. It represents the purpose and the future of a business. As opposed to the mission one, it’s more aspirational and it talks about what you want to become. An important thing to keep in mind is that this promotes growth, both inside the team and outside of it. It’s obvious that a purpose-driven company sees success as a whole and will focus on what is the most important for the company.

However, if you have no vision, this means you’re on a road to nowhere with your business. You may be working with outdated processes, lacking inspiration, stagnating with your projects, moving around without a clear purpose. And can a company truly survive without having a clear vision?

mission statement vs vision statement differences

The differences between a mission and a vision statement. Image source: Pinterest

Mission Statement Vs Vision Statement – The Differences

As we mentioned already, there are some key differences that need to be mentioned in the mission statement vs vision statement talk. The main thing that differentiates the two concepts is the fact that the vision statement is focused on tomorrow and on what the organization plans to become. Meanwhile, the mission statement centers on today and on what the company is already doing. It’s not a rare occurrence for a company to use the two concepts interchangeably. However, it’s essential to have both. You can’t have one without the other because you need both purpose and meaning in any kind of business.

Let’s have a look at a brief comparison chart that outlines the main differences in our mission statement vs vision statement discussion.

Category Mission Statement Vision Statement
What Does It Do? It states how you can get where you want to be. Shows the purpose and the main objectives in connection to your customer needs, as well as team values. It shows where you want to be. Conveys both the purpose and the values of the company.
What Question Does It Answer? What do we do? What makes my company different? Where do we aim to be?
What Period Does It Cover? The present that leads to the future. Only the future.
What Function Does It Have? It shows the broad goals that were in place when the organization was formed. The main function it has is internal: define the main measure(s) of the company’s success. The main audience is represented by the leadership, stockholders and team. It represents where you can see yourself in a couple of years from now. It has an inspiring role of making people give their best and understand why they are working here.
Can It Change? You can change the mission statement, but it still needs to be related to the core values, vision, and customer needs. Along with the evolution of the organization, the owner of the company may want to change the vision. However, it is recommended you avoid changing too many things about it, since both the vision and the mission are related to the foundations of your organization.
What Statement Do They Develop? What are we doing today? Who benefits from it? Why does the company do what it does? Where do we want to be? When do we plan to reach our goal? How do we do it?
How Is It Effective? Stating the purpose and values of the organization (who are the primary stakeholders? What are the responsibilities the company has towards stakeholders?) Being clear and unambiguous:

·         Describe a positive future;

·         Expressions that are memorable and engaging;

·         Realistic aspirations;

·         Alignment with the organizational culture and values.

As you can see, the two concepts can be quite different.  However, there are some common goals and elements that make people easily confuse the two.

Examples of Mission Statements and Vision Statements

To wrap it up, it would be useful to have a look at the mission statements of several famous companies we hear about every day.

1. Tesla

Mission statement: To accelerate the global transition to sustainable energy.

Vision statement: To be the most compelling car company in the 21st century by leading the world transition to electric vehicles.

2. Amazon

Mission statement: Offering the customers the lowest prices, the best selection, together with the utmost convenience.

Vision statement: To be the most customer-centric company on Earth, where people can find anything they need online.

3. TED

Mission statement: To spread ideas.

Vision statement: The team believes in the power ideas have to change lives, attitudes, and the world.

4. Google

Mission statement: Organize the information in the world and make it universally useful and accessible.

Vision statement: Offer access to the world’s information with just one click.

5. Airbnb

Mission statement: Belong anywhere.

Vision statement: Use the universal human longing to belong, the wish to feel welcomed, respected, and appreciated for who you truly are, no matter where you are.

Conclusion

In the old mission statement vs vision statement discussion, it’s important to be aware of the main differences between the two concepts. The table we exposed above pinpoints exactly what differs, while the examples that followed show us how companies make use of these tools.

Image source: depositphotos.com

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