Mission, vision and values statements serve as the foundation for an organization’s strategic plan. They convey the purpose, direction and underlying values of an organization. When developed and implemented in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, these statements can serve as powerful tools that provide organizations with meaningful guidance, especially under times of rapid change. Consequently, taking the time to craft relevant mission, vision and value statements should be carefully considered.
The mission statement defines an organization’s purpose or reason for being. It guides the day-to-day operations of the organization, communicates to external stakeholders the core solutions the organization provides in society and motivates employees toward a common near-to-medium term goal. In short, the mission statement paints a picture of who the company is and what the company does.
A good mission statement should only focus on what is most important to the organization. It should be brief, clear, informative, simple and direct. It should avoid elaborate language, clichés and generalizations, and it should emphasize outcomes and the people the organization is serving.
When writing a mission statement, consider the following questions:
The vision statement describes the future of the organization. It reveals what the company aspires to be or hopes to achieve in the long-term. The vision statement is inspirational and motivational but also provides direction, mapping out where the organization is headed. In this regard, it serves as a guide for choosing current and future courses of action.
An effective vision statement should be concise, unambiguous, futuristic, realistic, aspirational and inspirational. It should not be generic but rather focus on outcomes specific to the organization.
When writing a vision statement, consider these questions:
An organization’s values statement highlights the organization’s core principles and philosophical ideals. It is used to inform and guide the decisions and behaviors of the people inside the organization and signal to external stakeholders what’s important to the company. The organization’s core values shape daily culture and establish standards of conduct against which actions and decisions can be assessed.
A values statement should be memorable, actionable and timeless. The format of the values statement depends on the organization; some organizations use one, two or three words to describe their core values while others provide a short phrase.
When drafting a value statements, some questions to consider include:
The mission, vision and values statements are the guiding forces behind an organization. The mission statement communicates the purpose of the organization. The vision statement provides insight into what the company hopes to achieve or become in the future. The values statement reflects the organization’s core principles and ethics. Together, these statements provide strategic direction for an organization, informing current and future business strategies.
Interesting in viewing examples from other organizations? Download our collection of of mission, vision, and value statements here.
365 Careers, January 26, 2018,The mission, vision and values statements [video file].
Bain & Company, April 2, 2018,Mission and vision statements.
Diffen LLC, n.d., Mission statement vs. vision statement.
Paula Fernandes, May 4, 2018, What is a vision statement?
Linda Le Phan, April 12, 2018, How to define your company’s core values (37 experts share their advice)[blog].
William A. Nelson & Paul B. Gardent, March/April 2011, "Organizational values statements," Healthcare Executive, 56-59.
Edward L. Powers, 2012, "Organizational mission statement guidelines revisited," International Journal of Management & Information Systems, 16(4), 281-290.
Britt Skrabanek, August 19, 2018, Difference between vision and mission statements: 25 examples.