Mission statement. Vision statement.
What are they? Are they important?
You may have heard much about them. How your vision statement gives your company direction. Or how a great mission statement can inspire your employees and keep them working towards your company’s vision. Question is, when you read those statements, are you inspired?
Not always. Maybe even rarely.
Yet every big company has them. And every startup should, too.
The problem is that though necessary, these statements lack the inspiration they are intended to provide.
What is a vision statement?
This is a declaration of where the company wants to be in the future. What it wants to have achieved in the fullness of time.
What is a mission statement?
This is a declaration of what the company seeks to do in the short-term. It is what the company does on a daily basis. If someone wanted to know what a certain company does, he should get the answer from its mission statement.
Here is a video that will help you distinguish these two terms better.
How come many mission and vision statements are not inspiring?
A mission or vision statement is nothing but a collection of words. The choice of words and tone used is what forms the actual communication. Communication comes from inside you.
If you have a vision, it should be able to move you to want to work towards it. Regardless of the challenges you will face.
This means that your vision should first of all inspire you. If your vision doesn’t inspire you, then drop it. It’s not a vision. It’s probably only a desire. Worse still, it may be just a wish.
If you rally people to work towards your wish or desire, you will end up frustrated. It will be similar to asking people to work as you get the benefits. That’s not going to happen.
You see, wishes are like empty promises. They have nothing to hold them in place as they wait to materialize.
Visions on the other hand are solid and require work. You can be sure that you’re being driven by a vision when you are willing to work on it alone. You want to put in the efforts and set the right foundation. Understanding that you will need support, you are careful to ensure that the support is in line with the vision.
Do you have a vision? Check out this article for more details on how to write your vision statement.
Since a little inspiration will go a long way, we gathered some truly inspiring mission and vision statements to help you out. These are from companies which have been successful in their fields. They stand out for their unique products and services.
As you may already know, it is important to offer something no-one else is offering. Whatever your business is doing should be filling a specific gap in the market. If there are other solutions, then find out whether they are really doing all that should be done.
You will learn from one of the companies here that identifying the gap is not the end. You will do well to focus on the customer.
In short, don’t just give a solution. Offer convenience too.
Just before we get to the examples, a quick mention about company values.
Your company values are equally important.
They should especially form part of your mission. You can either include them in a one-sentence mission statement or list them separately. These values should define your work culture. They should be evident from both your internal and external relations.
Now, let’s get into the inspiration.
EXAMPLES OF VISION AND MISSION STATEMENTS
Going through these examples, you will notice that they may not all appeal to you.
However, the organizations behind these vision and mission statements enjoy a massive following because of the loyalty they have elicited.
That is what happens when through your vision and mission statements, you speak to the hearts of people.
Speak to them about the real concerns they have. Show them that you have the solution then follow that up with actions to demonstrate it.
We will briefly discuss each of these vision and mission statements so you can see how the inspiration becomes influential.
So, open up your mind and get ready to be inspired.
By the way, these examples are not arranged in any particular order.
1. World Vision
Vision: For every child, life in all its fullness; Our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so.
This is direct communication to the heart of humanity.
When World Vision asks you to help get a child get out of poverty and guarantee a better life, you immediately see the need.
You will also want to avoid hardening your heart.
They are praying that your heart will be willing. Their vision statement is clear on what they hope to achieve and automatically inspires people to support them.
Operating in virtually all the countries of the world, it is not hard to see how far people can go when inspired to a great cause.
Check out their website and see some more of what they have done. You will also see videos of people who have witnessed the power of coming together to achieve a goal.
That is how powerful a vision is—when communicated well.
2. American Red Cross
Mission: Prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
Living in a world full of violence, some bad situations will always occur e.g. wars.
Wars cause people to be homeless, lack food and become vulnerable to diseases with no access to medical attention.
When the Red Cross tells you that they want to prevent that from happening, you might even want to urge them on. When you watch them doing it, rescuing victims from war zones and attending to them, you see the urgency of partnering with them.
This mission statement gives you the information you need to support them.
They explicitly tell you that they exist to address human suffering during emergencies and what resources do they have?
They count on you.
They request that you volunteer or at least make a donation so they can be equipped for emergencies.
Wherever people are dying and there is risk of more deaths, that’s an emergency. You can count on the Red Cross showing up.
What’s more, people all over the world have their telephone numbers. Whenever they see a situation worth their intervention, they contact them. Red Cross counts on this because they have taken up the duty to assist in such situations.
Therefore, the contact by the public is part of the support they need.
Apart from its congressional charter, the American Red Cross is also guided by the principles of The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. These are the values they work by:
- Humanity – to prevent and alleviate human suffering;
- Impartiality – to relieve the suffering of individuals without discriminating as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinions;
- Neutrality – to enjoy the confidence of all by not taking sides in hostilities or engage in controversies of a political, racial, religions or ideological nature;
- Independence – to maintain autonomy from the government;
- Voluntary Service – to provide relief without being prompted in any manner by desire for gain;
- Unity – to maintain only one Red Cross in any one country;
- Universality – to ensure that the movement is worldwide and that all societies have equal status and responsibilities.
3. Boy Scouts of America
Mission: To prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.
Vision: Prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.
This is a great set of mission and vision statements.
Most companies publish only their mission statement as they hold their vision statements for internal direction.
Others combine aspects of their vision and mission into a single mission statement.
Here we see a great distinction and application of the difference by the Boy Scouts of America.
The message is both inspiring and shows something that you will recognize as necessary—high ethics and moral standards.
Notice how they talk of making leaders who are guided by the Scout Law. Now take a look at the Scout Law and check out those qualities.
Wouldn’t you want to have a leader who is trustworthy, kind and brave at the same time?
This is how your company values give weight to your mission.
You can bet that no single scout out there will fearful, unfriendly or even corrupt.
And isn’t that the kind of people we want around us?
Better still, isn’t that the kind of people we want our sons to become?
Vision: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.
This vision statement from Amazon.com communicates a desire to:
- Attain a global reach
- Prioritize their customers’ needs by offering convenience and low prices
- Avail to their customers practically anything that can be sold
Online shopping came about due to the need for convenience. Many people would only go shopping over the weekend even if supplies ran out in the course of the week.
Amazon presents their vision statement to you and what does it say?
That they are working to look after the customers’ needs. That instantly attracts you.
You read on and you get to know that they will focus on two important things: product availability and low prices.
Doesn’t that make you want to start shopping with them?
Who wants to shop where they don’t get what they’re looking for? Even if the prices are low?
It is not a wonder then that this retail giant is always making profit. The reason is that customers have trusted Amazon to focus on them and as they happily shop, the company makes the money.
Watch the below video of a CNN interview with Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO and hear him explain what it means to focus on the customer.
Mission: Tumblr is where your interests connect you with your people.
This mission statement may look a bit off going by the rules. It however is still one, and a good one.
You obviously have interests, some of them which not many of your friends identify with. Do you know where you can connect with people who have such interests? Tumblr.
Rarely will you ever get enough connections in life—you will always need more.
This is especially true in business because more connections mean (potentially) more business.
You will want your customers to remember you even after they have left your offices. You have come to know what interests them and have managed to tap into that and gotten sales.
What this mission statement is telling you is that if you pursue them into Tumblr, their friends might become your customers too.
They have interests similar to those of your customers and your customers have interests which you are taking care of. As your customers talk about you and with you, their friends will be pulled towards you too.
Pushing social media forward, Tumblr experiences a progress which is closely tied to its mission statement.
Though facing stiff competition in the social media arena, Tumblr shows you that your interests are important. It then goes ahead to give you a platform to connect with similar-minded people.
This is what keeps it going even when times get tough.
Mission: Making work simpler, more pleasant, and more productive.
There is nobody who wouldn’t want to experience this.
If you are running your own business or have ever been an employee, you know how good it can be if the above statement applies.
This mission statement shows the focus which Slack has put to facilitate a more pleasant work place.
Do you want to be productive without unnecessary struggles through the day? Slack promises to give you that.
Their mission statement tells it all. If you have productivity and a simplified work experience, life becomes enjoyable and satisfying.
Your work will always be stressful if not managed well. There are no better ways to manage it other than getting help from those who know best.
Your team will always have projects they are working on and the collaboration, partnership, enthusiasm and overall goal may seem distant at times.
When you have a system which helps your team work together, be productive while enjoying the process, then work really happens.
Slack makes this promise through their mission statement and you will agree that this is something we all need.
Mission: Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Google’s mission statement tells you where their attention is directed.
For them, it is all about making the information available on the internet easy to consume.
They will put in place measures to ensure you can access this information wherever you are, as long as it’s on earth. They will then present it in a way that helps you quickly get what you were looking for.
Have they been successful as a company in doing this? The numbers have the answer.
As the search expert, Google is not just doing business but also controlling the internet. Everyone searches the internet and with Google having almost 80% market share among search engines, it’s easy to see the success.
From their mission statement, you will realize that Google stayed true to their mission. As much as they came up with other ways of making more money, their core business is very intact.
The results? They became experts, won the loyalty of many and made money in the process.
Mission: Powering prosperity around the world.
This mission statement is short, clear and speaks volumes. Using this statement, Intuit clearly shows that regardless of your definition of prosperity, they will help you achieve it.
Finances are central to prosperity. You cannot claim to be prosperous if you don’t have money. You may be happy with your life—that’s satisfaction—but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have attained prosperity.
Anyone telling you that they can help you handle your money will obviously need to earn your trust first. The guys at Intuit understand this. Check the below image to see their values. Their values help them be trustworthy and act as needed to drive prosperity.
Intuit says that they have the right people for the work and if their values are anything to go by, then you will have a hard time doubting them.
They work as a team, learn the trends fast enough and boldly make decisions. All they need on top of that is passion for the work and they will deliver accordingly.
Are you still unsure whether you can allow them to drive your finances towards prosperity?
Mission: To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit; Inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions; create value and make a difference.
If this is Coke’s mission statement, then you will agree that they have been largely successful.
As a global brand, Coke has been very consistent in producing the soft drinks which many love. And in the wake of campaigns against taking a lot of sugar, Coke has solutions to help you stay healthy while enjoying your favorite soft drink.
Is this loyalty to customers or business strategy? Be the judge.
One thing is however sure: they are doing what they say in their mission statement. If doing this is what they always wanted, then they have communicated it very well in their statement. Do you see the connection?
Simply put, say what you want to be doing, then do what you said you’ll be doing.
Just remember to adapt your business to changes as they happen. Company missions and visions can also change over time to reflect the changing customer needs and requirements.
They should however not change so much that they sound like they belong to a new company.
10. Trip Advisor
Mission: To help people around the world plan and have the perfect trip.
This mission statement says a lot about the hustles of traveling.
Trip Advisor’s solution is not to get you to book a hotel through their service. They help you choose the right hotels. From low budget to 5-star hotels, they show you where you’ll enjoy the most. You will know the various offerings of the select hotels and read customer reviews.
Truth be told, if you were searching the internet for a solution and you bumped onto a link saying ‘we help people plan and have a perfect trip,’ chances are that you would click the link.
Life has its own challenges and when you find someone willing to help you, it’s definitely a good thing. It will actually be surprising if you turned down the help being offered.
Trip Advisor is one of the major services offering help with holiday planning. The trust their customers have comes from their mission statement. When those customers experience the practical side of it, then they become loyal.
If you’re always traveling yet have never used Trip Advisor, then check them out.
Vision: Ferrari, Italian Excellence that makes the world dream.
Mission: We build cars, symbols of Italian excellence the world over, and we do so to win on both road and track. Unique creations that fuel the Prancing Horse legend and generate a “World of Dreams and Emotions”.
This is a big one. Not because Ferrari is the biggest or most profitable company but because of the scope of their statements. Both the vision and mission hold nothing back in showing off the pride in the nation of Italy.
If you don’t know about Ferrari, their mission statement will tell you who they are and what they do. Inside this statement, they also tell you the result of what they do. They build cars which win races and have the comfort and style which you only dream of.
Their vision statement then tells you that they intend to make their mission something bigger. That the world will always be wowed by the cars they make.
If you are not a fan of cars, just talk to one. No matter what their favorite make is, they know that Ferraris are good. Yet it all begins at their mission and vision statements.
More specifically, Ferrari showcases passion for what they do and who they are. The promise from them is that by owning a Ferrari, you are not only having a car but experiencing the Italian life.
In short, if you’ve never been to Italy, owning a Ferrari will cover for that.
Mission: To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.
True to their word, this is what Twitter does. They acknowledge your creativity and present you with a platform to exercise it.
A big reason why social media quickly became a hit is because you don’t need much resources to speak out your mind and share information. All you need is a smartphone. This is how personal lives have become public.
Though some love the opportunity to share publicly, others frown upon it. Still, the platform has largely benefited many.
With so many people having something to say about public interest matters, it’s only fair that they get the chance to. This is the promise Twitter made and did well to keep. Keeping such a promise has yielded more active users and overall profits for the good work.
It is not a wonder then that Twitter stands as a strong candidate in the social media competition.
One thing that comes out clearly in these examples is that they are all unique. This uniqueness is not a coincidence but natural as it is guided by the desire for these companies to meet unique customer needs.
Each company has a specific target market. For example, Tumblr and Twitter are both social media businesses. However, Twitter is designed for sharing news and short messages while Tumblr offers social interactions as well as micro-blogging.
Now that you have been inspired by these 12 examples of vision and mission statements, it’s time to create your own.
Remember, diligently working as per your mission statement will guide you into achieving your vision. Also, don’t think too much about the money. Keep your focus on the customers and the money will just follow.
Do you have other examples that inspire you? Share them below.