Derek Hendrikz

Derek Hendrikz is a strategic leadership and organisational performance specialist who aims to empower executive teams worldwide.

What is the difference between Vision and Mission?

What is the difference between Vision and Mission?

By Derek Hendrikz

 

When dealing with issues of strategic leadership and strategy development mission and vision becomes both first and foremost… But what is the difference, which one first and how do you determine them?

 

The difference between vision and mission, to my mind, is one of the most confused and misunderstood concepts in any strategy formulation process. Even in fortune 500 companies, one finds missions that should actually be visions and vice versa… In fact, it is often hard to distinguish between the two statements in many companies. If you ask for an explanation on the difference, some senior executive will most probably tell you that vision is where we want to go and mission is how we will get there. With all respect, this conclusion makes absolutely no sense. Firstly, if mission is how we achieve vision, then what is strategy? Secondly, if mission moves us from a current to some desired state then mission should change quite often, yet some of the oldest and most powerful organisations in the world have missions that never change!

 

This perplexity most probably originated in our early endeavours to control the world with militant action. Armies had mission. This was a project-based concept which aims to conquer, kill and return home. Thus the aim was to achieve a state of ‘mission completed’. As we entered the industrial age, we started companies and corporations. We stole the ‘mission’ concept from our militant past, but unlike our military operations, we do not want our organisations to end. Thus, we created vision; that which cannot end… As we currently go far beyond the information age, the nature of mission and vision has dramatically changed in meaning and application. Maybe the right terminology would rather be ‘statement of purpose’ and ‘statement of desire’…

 

I believe that those who aim to create a direct relationship between mission and vision cause much of the above confusion. In this article, I intend to convince that mission and vision has no direct cause and effect relationship, but rather that they imply an inverse relationship that directs two very important dimensions within any organised system. These being to stabilise and to change. With this I advocate hat mission authorises processes whilst vision energises strategy. Mission brings stability and order whereas vision creates strategy and brings change and renewal to the system. Respectively, the first empowers and the latter influences. Mission directs processes and is primarily a managerial function. Vision on the other hand, creates strategy and is primarily a leadership function. Ultimately any organised system will attempt to increase relevance of its mission whilst focusing change initiatives that will make its vision irrelevant… The one implies processes-based and the other project-based activity. E.g. if I want to lose 10kg of weight (my vision) and I do so (vision now irrelevant) then my change initiative becomes a maintenance function. Thus a once-off, non-repetitive project became a cyclic process.

 

Mission:

Vision:

·      Authorises the organisation.

·      Ignites processes.

·      Contains risk.

·      Brings order to chaos.

·      Is evolutionary in nature.

·      Should not change, and if it does, change should be slow and gradual.

·      Aims to become more relevant.

·          Energises the organisation.

·          Creates strategy.

·          Creates risk.

·          Brings chaos to order.

·          Has revolutionary nature.

·          New or changed vision implies strategic effectiveness.

·          Aims to become irrelevant.

 

As with any strategic initiative, we must start by asking the right questions. To do such we must understand our end result. In the case of mission we ask questions that will enhance our reason for existence, thus creating a statement that we will nurture and grow with no end in mind. The end result of mission is therefore clear purpose that directs organisational performance. With vision we ask questions that query our future relevance. These questions will bring doubt to our current process efficiency and critically question our ability to effectively relate to our external environment. We therefore deliberately inject neurosis into our system. And this neurosis must be killed. Thus, unlike mission, the questions that ignite vision has a definite end in mind. We can only claim strategic success if vision dies! Where that which we once desired becomes our reality, we can either maintain such through process efficiency or we can create a new dissatisfied state by developing a new vision. It is for this reason that very old and powerful organisations are mostly process-driven. The Roman Catholic Church, Buddhism, the Rolling Stones, Coca Cola, to name only a few… Thus the end result of vision is a desired reality that will keep our system relevant. Hence, questions that create mission aims to provide certainty whereas questions that create vision aspires to create uncertainty. Together they will provide the organisational equilibrium needed for sustainable growth.

 

Questions asked to determine Mission:

Questions asked to determine Vision:

·      What is our purpose?

·      Why is this our purpose?

·      What makes our purpose relevant?

·      What must we do to manifest this purpose?

·      Where must we do this?

·      For whom do we do this?

·          Where do we want to be?

·          Why are we not there yet?

·          What if…?

·          What if we go somewhere else?

·          In which ways are we different?

·          When will what we currently do become irrelevant?

 

As mentioned above, a mission statement should give clear purpose and must direct process efficiency. To me this is the test of strong mission. To avoid confusion, a mission statement should not create a future desire. E.g. “To provide…” or “Being the…” indicates future desired action. A good mission statement implies immediate responsibility for an already existing state. E.g. “We provide…” or “At ABC we are the…”

 

10 excellent mission statements:

1.       “At Microsoft, we work to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. This is our mission. Everything we do reflects this mission and the values that make it possible.” (Microsoft)

2.       “We provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” (ASPCA)

3.       “We work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.” (Heifer International)

4.       “We fulfil dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.” (Harley-Davidson, Inc.)

5.       "We bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world." (Nike)

6.       “People love our clothes and trust our company. We will market the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world. We will clothe the world.” (Laidlaw International Levi Strauss & Co)

7.       “We help all people live healthy lives.” (Becton, Dickinson and Company)

8.       “Our purpose is to create superior value for our customers, employees, communities and investors through the production, conversion, delivery and sale of energy and energy services.” (Duke Energy Corporation)

9.       “We provide our policyholders with as near perfect protection, as near perfect service as is humanly possible and to do so at the lowest possible cost.” (Erie Insurance Group)

10.   “Graybar is the vital link in the supply chain, adding value with efficient and cost-effective service and solutions for our customers and our suppliers.” (Graybar Electric Company)

 

A vision statement, on the other hand, should create uncertainty and initiate strategy to eliminate such uncertainty. Therefore, vision constructs desire, thus immediately creating a gap between current and desired reality. Finding ways to close such gap is called strategy and effectively closing such gap is called strategy execution. Unlike mission, vision implies a future state that is not yet achieved…

 

10 excellent vision statements:

1.       “A computer on every desk and in every home; all running Microsoft software.” (Microsoft)

2.       “That the United States is a humane community in which all animals are treated with respect and kindness.” (ASPCA)

3.       “A hunger-free America” (Feeding America)

4.       “Equality for everyone.” (Human Rights Campaign)

5.       “To be the number one athletic company in the world.” (Nike)

6.       “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online." (Amazon)

7.       “Amnesty International's vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.” (Amnesty International)

8.       "The happiest place on Earth." (Disneyland)

9.       "People Fly for Free." (Ryanair)

10.   “To provide access to the world’s information in one click.” (Google)

 

One last dilemma that we must work with is which one first? To me this is no chicken or egg situation. No organised system can exist without purpose. It is mission that gives birth to any system. We cannot determine where we want to go if we have no idea who we are… It is, however, common practice in marketing documents to put vision first. This is so since a vision is ‘sexy’; it creates desire and presents the external world with dynamic perception. Yet, the fact that it’s written first does not imply that it was conceived first… The power of vision is dependent on the amount of change needed. Mission can only cease where purpose has become irrelevant. As leaders come and go, visions will be born and will die. But, as long as any organised system evolves and survives, mission will stand strong. There can be no vision without mission!

 

In conclusion, the difference between mission and vision is not important; it is vitally crucial… In my Strategic Leadership Master Class we thoroughly unpack the nature and methodology of developing vision and mission at executive level…

 

© 10 April 2015

Strategic Leadership and Organisational Performance Specialist

www.derekhendrikz.com

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Copyright

© 2015 Derek Hendrikz Consulting

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Comments

Guest - Admore Nyaguze on Friday, 15 September 2017 16:43

The key learning for me is that there is huge difference between vision and mission and after reading this article i have managed to understand the difference between the two but still want to mention that the two are closely interrelated because the mission is made by the company with vision in mind.

The key learning for me is that there is huge difference between vision and mission and after reading this article i have managed to understand the difference between the two but still want to mention that the two are closely interrelated because the mission is made by the company with vision in mind.
Guest - Mervin Govender on Wednesday, 13 September 2017 11:34

Mission statements are generally at their best when they reflect a vision, an almost “impossible dream” that provides direction for the next 10 to 20 years. The mission and vision statements listed in the article are simple and unambiguous. The problem with many companies is that they overcomplicate the vision and mission therefore making it difficult for employees to understand. The employees can only align themselves to the mission and vision if the leaders themselves have a clear direction of the organization.
Mission therefore relates to management and processes (current) whilst vision related to leadership and strategy (future).

Mission statements are generally at their best when they reflect a vision, an almost “impossible dream” that provides direction for the next 10 to 20 years. The mission and vision statements listed in the article are simple and unambiguous. The problem with many companies is that they overcomplicate the vision and mission therefore making it difficult for employees to understand. The employees can only align themselves to the mission and vision if the leaders themselves have a clear direction of the organization. Mission therefore relates to management and processes (current) whilst vision related to leadership and strategy (future).
Guest - Lisa Paterson on Wednesday, 13 September 2017 11:21

The following statement brought a smile to my face when I read it: ".....some senior executive will most probably tell you that vision is where we want to go and mission is how we will get there...", as this was the response that I was thinking when I read the question. It is always interesting to read different views, and Derek's words: ..."I intend to convince...." a statement of desire or a vision in itself. In fact the phrases: "... 'a statement of purpose’ and ‘statement of desire’…" encompass Derek's thinking most effectively, and this very simply reminds one of the difference between the Mission & Vision respectively.
A well written, convincing, passage. Vision has been met, I am suitably convinced!

The following statement brought a smile to my face when I read it: ".....some senior executive will most probably tell you that vision is where we want to go and mission is how we will get there...", as this was the response that I was thinking when I read the question. It is always interesting to read different views, and Derek's words: ..."I intend to convince...." a statement of desire or a vision in itself. In fact the phrases: "... 'a statement of purpose’ and ‘statement of desire’…" encompass Derek's thinking most effectively, and this very simply reminds one of the difference between the Mission & Vision respectively. A well written, convincing, passage. Vision has been met, I am suitably convinced!
Guest - Fernando Pienaar on Wednesday, 13 September 2017 11:18

Interesting article. The importance for me concerning mission and vision statements is that it must give us as employee’s direction. Ultimately, I want to know where I am going and how do I get there. What are my core values? It is also important that I am aware of the timelines e.g. what needs to happen now versus what is for the future. For me a mission and vision must be clear and specific and that as a company we practice what we commit to.

Interesting article. The importance for me concerning mission and vision statements is that it must give us as employee’s direction. Ultimately, I want to know where I am going and how do I get there. What are my core values? It is also important that I am aware of the timelines e.g. what needs to happen now versus what is for the future. For me a mission and vision must be clear and specific and that as a company we practice what we commit to.
Guest - Thomas Kipkorir on Tuesday, 12 September 2017 08:50

It was very insightful and great to learn that mission makes your vision. A mission or vision statement should not be like a new years resolution, formed on the 1st of January and forgotten on the 2nd of January. It should be realistic, achievable and something that you or your organisation believes in to be worth the paper its written on, and having a better understanding of the differences between mission and vision helps to formulate a more solid acceptable statement.

It was very insightful and great to learn that mission makes your vision. A mission or vision statement should not be like a new years resolution, formed on the 1st of January and forgotten on the 2nd of January. It should be realistic, achievable and something that you or your organisation believes in to be worth the paper its written on, and having a better understanding of the differences between mission and vision helps to formulate a more solid acceptable statement.
Guest - Abnet Belachew on Saturday, 09 September 2017 13:03

I read it so many times. Their difference seems to be very clear and distinct but too conceptual. It’s obvious that the nature and application has changed quite a lot. I believe depending up on the nature of the industry the two might have direct cause and effect relationship or might have inversely related but one thing is for sure both are very crucial to exist and excel. The most important part is the equilibrium; that’s why sometimes change is a must on both mission and vision to keep the right balance. As to which one first, I guess it’s contextual, for some you need to start from the vision to draw your mission or the other way. Time, change, focus, relevance & functions could be used to determine vision and mission. Mission is managerial function and vision is leadership function. Keeping the balance is the most important factor for a company to survive and exist from generation to generation but change is a must as we are going through constant change.

I read it so many times. Their difference seems to be very clear and distinct but too conceptual. It’s obvious that the nature and application has changed quite a lot. I believe depending up on the nature of the industry the two might have direct cause and effect relationship or might have inversely related but one thing is for sure both are very crucial to exist and excel. The most important part is the equilibrium; that’s why sometimes change is a must on both mission and vision to keep the right balance. As to which one first, I guess it’s contextual, for some you need to start from the vision to draw your mission or the other way. Time, change, focus, relevance & functions could be used to determine vision and mission. Mission is managerial function and vision is leadership function. Keeping the balance is the most important factor for a company to survive and exist from generation to generation but change is a must as we are going through constant change.
Guest - Navisha Ramgobeen on Tuesday, 15 March 2016 11:27

No established company to date has grown to greater heights without having both a Vision or Mission on one page. Many organizations have strict processes in place and with these strict guidelines the company's vision can surely be seen.
Our goals are set and how we go about getting that achievement should be regularly discussed and executed accordingly. The MAIN FOCUS - our vision - must not change.
If the whole team is on the VISION, the execution of THE MISSION becomes easier.

No established company to date has grown to greater heights without having both a Vision or Mission on one page. Many organizations have strict processes in place and with these strict guidelines the company's vision can surely be seen. Our goals are set and how we go about getting that achievement should be regularly discussed and executed accordingly. The MAIN FOCUS - our vision - must not change. If the whole team is on the VISION, the execution of THE MISSION becomes easier.
Guest - Menette Nel on Sunday, 13 March 2016 18:26

Interesting ideas and concepts. I agree with your advocacy that a mission = authorizes processes, brings stability, empowers, directs processes and is primarily a managerial function whilst vision = energizes strategy, brings change and renewal to the system, influences and is primarily a leadership function. Vision to me means ultimate goal or picture and Mission the action plan to get there. I believe that the vision needs to be in place and clear for the mission to follow. Very well put Doug!

Interesting ideas and concepts. I agree with your advocacy that a mission = authorizes processes, brings stability, empowers, directs processes and is primarily a managerial function whilst vision = energizes strategy, brings change and renewal to the system, influences and is primarily a leadership function. Vision to me means ultimate goal or picture and Mission the action plan to get there. I believe that the vision needs to be in place and clear for the mission to follow. Very well put Doug!
Guest - Subashnee Thandroyen on Tuesday, 01 March 2016 17:20

This article to me was very interesting, To me one cannot go without the other and feel they actually compliment each other, One has to have a mission to make your vision come true, For me Vision is a future goal and your mission is how you are making that happen in the present to realise the future goal, what steps you take in your mission is going to help you make your vision come true.
Mission for me is something you plan to do to achieve your vision. I want to lose weight by a certain time which is my Vision, and my mission is exercising, eating healthier etc.

This article to me was very interesting, To me one cannot go without the other and feel they actually compliment each other, One has to have a mission to make your vision come true, For me Vision is a future goal and your mission is how you are making that happen in the present to realise the future goal, what steps you take in your mission is going to help you make your vision come true. Mission for me is something you plan to do to achieve your vision. I want to lose weight by a certain time which is my Vision, and my mission is exercising, eating healthier etc.
Guest - Akintayo Adisa on Monday, 22 February 2016 15:41

I found this article very interesting and had to read it several times before commenting.
In my opinion and interpretation of this article, Vision can be described as being fuzzy... as example of this could be likened to a time of climbers who have a vision of climbing Everest. However, mission gives birth to a path to accomplishment. It is the purpose which keeps the organization ticking and could be said to be "The reason why one gets out of bed".
I'm actually tempted to say that without a mission, certain aspects of a vision cannot be realised. I could also like to throw this saying in here:
"In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is a big difference between theory and practice". Theory here could be likened to vision whilst practice could be likened to mission. The difference between practice (mission) and theory (vision) could be likened to the various process improvements and re-engineering once has to make to take account for reality in the mission to actualize the organization's goals.

I found this article very interesting and had to read it several times before commenting. In my opinion and interpretation of this article, Vision can be described as being fuzzy... as example of this could be likened to a time of climbers who have a vision of climbing Everest. However, mission gives birth to a path to accomplishment. It is the purpose which keeps the organization ticking and could be said to be "The reason why one gets out of bed". I'm actually tempted to say that without a mission, certain aspects of a vision cannot be realised. I could also like to throw this saying in here: "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is a big difference between theory and practice". Theory here could be likened to vision whilst practice could be likened to mission. The difference between practice (mission) and theory (vision) could be likened to the various process improvements and re-engineering once has to make to take account for reality in the mission to actualize the organization's goals.
Guest - Anmorie Viljoen on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 16:03

This article helped me to better understand the main difference between a Mission and a Vision and the relationship between the two. I don't think people always realise the impact that these statements can have on a business and the way it is perceived. A mission should determine what the company is and what it stands for, whilst the vision still seems like the potential long term "ideal" In order to create this - and be successful - the organisation, the people, needs to be involved as a team in order to strive towards the same goal.

This article helped me to better understand the main difference between a Mission and a Vision and the relationship between the two. I don't think people always realise the impact that these statements can have on a business and the way it is perceived. A mission should determine what the company is and what it stands for, whilst the vision still seems like the potential long term "ideal" In order to create this - and be successful - the organisation, the people, needs to be involved as a team in order to strive towards the same goal.
Guest - Hugo Derksen on Wednesday, 17 February 2016 10:34

Very interesting article - Mission for me gives clear direction to the organisation and to the outside world what we are here for and what we are about. What is it that we do everyday and therefore similarly what is it that we do not do. It focusses all of our activities to fit into a certain aligned scheme. It describes the service, process or product that is our everyday core business.

Vision is what makes us break with Mission. It forces us to think outside of our everyday core duties and deliverables. It drives our long term, strategic thinking in order to survive in an ever changing environment. If we do not break with Mission to pursue Vision we will not be agile enough to be relevant in a ever changing environment.

Very interesting article - Mission for me gives clear direction to the organisation and to the outside world what we are here for and what we are about. What is it that we do everyday and therefore similarly what is it that we do not do. It focusses all of our activities to fit into a certain aligned scheme. It describes the service, process or product that is our everyday core business. Vision is what makes us break with Mission. It forces us to think outside of our everyday core duties and deliverables. It drives our long term, strategic thinking in order to survive in an ever changing environment. If we do not break with Mission to pursue Vision we will not be agile enough to be relevant in a ever changing environment.
Guest - Pedro D Ferreira on Tuesday, 16 February 2016 10:26

I am still one that believes that a vision is a long term goal, something desired, something to achieve a legacy you want to create and the mission is the means of getting there. Example, I want to be a great husband and father, hence my vision as an example will be “a father that will be remembered long after he has gone", How do I achieve this? With a mission that goes something like this for example “I live my life every day to create happiness for my wife and children".
This is one of subjects I find that there will always be a split and debate as to what it actually means and what it actually is. What I think is important is that should you have a mission and vision statement, then you need really live by it and ensure it works for your organization, otherwise your just wasting your time developing one as it will not add any value.

I am still one that believes that a vision is a long term goal, something desired, something to achieve a legacy you want to create and the mission is the means of getting there. Example, I want to be a great husband and father, hence my vision as an example will be “a father that will be remembered long after he has gone", How do I achieve this? With a mission that goes something like this for example “I live my life every day to create happiness for my wife and children". This is one of subjects I find that there will always be a split and debate as to what it actually means and what it actually is. What I think is important is that should you have a mission and vision statement, then you need really live by it and ensure it works for your organization, otherwise your just wasting your time developing one as it will not add any value.
Guest - Cheryl Boulton on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 13:46

Change management is highly important in any organization, because, to paraphrase the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “Change is the only constant.” It is also the only thing that allows a business to grow, to keep its competitive edge in a quickly shifting world, and to continue to deliver on its mission in the best way possible.
However, I also feel it is something that is often done poorly, and in such a situation both the company and employees suffer. It is my opinion that this is often the problem with top-down change; the decision makers are sometimes removed and out of touch with the situation ‘on the ground’ and therefore battle to managed and communicate in a manner that will successfully effect the change. As the article states, I think management teams therefore need to be more open to and supportive of junior employees who have brilliant ideas, since ‘the front line who produces the bottom line often knows best what the solutions to complex executive problems’ are.

Change management is highly important in any organization, because, to paraphrase the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “Change is the only constant.” It is also the only thing that allows a business to grow, to keep its competitive edge in a quickly shifting world, and to continue to deliver on its mission in the best way possible. However, I also feel it is something that is often done poorly, and in such a situation both the company and employees suffer. It is my opinion that this is often the problem with top-down change; the decision makers are sometimes removed and out of touch with the situation ‘on the ground’ and therefore battle to managed and communicate in a manner that will successfully effect the change. As the article states, I think management teams therefore need to be more open to and supportive of junior employees who have brilliant ideas, since ‘the front line who produces the bottom line often knows best what the solutions to complex executive problems’ are.
Guest - Cheryl Boulton on Tuesday, 09 February 2016 12:32

I would absolutely agree with you that this is no ‘chicken or egg situation’. Without a mission, and effective execution of that mission, a company cannot operate. Without procedures and strict adherence to those, a destabilized, inefficient organization cannot chase a vision. First, execute your mission. Make sure your company is the best at putting that mission into practice, and then, when the foundations are set, vision can drive the business forward to bigger things.
Some would argue that it takes vision to conceive a business, and I agree with that to some degree. However, there are many success stories of companies that did not do anything new to succeed, but rather did it better than other businesses. This requires a strength in both the mission and vision departments.

I would absolutely agree with you that this is no ‘chicken or egg situation’. Without a mission, and effective execution of that mission, a company cannot operate. Without procedures and strict adherence to those, a destabilized, inefficient organization cannot chase a vision. First, execute your mission. Make sure your company is the best at putting that mission into practice, and then, when the foundations are set, vision can drive the business forward to bigger things. Some would argue that it takes vision to conceive a business, and I agree with that to some degree. However, there are many success stories of companies that did not do anything new to succeed, but rather did it better than other businesses. This requires a strength in both the mission and vision departments.
Guest - Eric Kalima on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 08:44

Vision has a serious impact on the response from the workers regarding work execution and I conquer with one writer who said “Leaders may change, but a clearly established Vision encourages people to focus on what's important and better understand organization-wide change and alignment of resources”.
Mission also makes workers to fully understand why, what, when and how certain decisions have to be made to reach your destination. “Having a clearly defined Mission statement also helps employees better understand things like company-wide decisions, organizational changes, and resource allocation, thereby lessening resistance and workplace conflicts”.

Vision has a serious impact on the response from the workers regarding work execution and I conquer with one writer who said “Leaders may change, but a clearly established Vision encourages people to focus on what's important and better understand organization-wide change and alignment of resources”. Mission also makes workers to fully understand why, what, when and how certain decisions have to be made to reach your destination. “Having a clearly defined Mission statement also helps employees better understand things like company-wide decisions, organizational changes, and resource allocation, thereby lessening resistance and workplace conflicts”.
Guest - Julie Mortimer on Monday, 01 February 2016 15:10

When I started reading the post, I was a little confused, as my pre-conceptions of what Mission and Vision are, were fairly unclear. In all honesty, I had always considered them fairly irrelevant, not having seen the distinction between the two, or ever having given much thought to this topic. Upon reading the article however, and hopefully comprehending it, I can now simplify what I think they represent below:

Mission – the way in which the organisation/group operates in a day-to-day manner
Vision – what the organisation/group is operating towards in a longer time frame

Could I also postulate then that Strategy is like a vehicle carrying the organisation towards the Vision......I guess this is to be confirmed! Whether one or the other comes first is irrelevant but I would assume that organisations with clear missions, defined ways of operating both procedurally and behaviourally, can positively facilitate Vision and also subsequent changes in direction, as the Vision changes and develops. I do also think that perhaps sometimes too much focus is given to the Vision, without ensuring the Mission is considered and nurtured. In summary, I believe that Vision + Mission are clearly interdependent; they are necessary, and I look forward to learning more.

When I started reading the post, I was a little confused, as my pre-conceptions of what Mission and Vision are, were fairly unclear. In all honesty, I had always considered them fairly irrelevant, not having seen the distinction between the two, or ever having given much thought to this topic. Upon reading the article however, and hopefully comprehending it, I can now simplify what I think they represent below: Mission – the way in which the organisation/group operates in a day-to-day manner Vision – what the organisation/group is operating towards in a longer time frame Could I also postulate then that Strategy is like a vehicle carrying the organisation towards the Vision......I guess this is to be confirmed! Whether one or the other comes first is irrelevant but I would assume that organisations with clear missions, defined ways of operating both procedurally and behaviourally, can positively facilitate Vision and also subsequent changes in direction, as the Vision changes and develops. I do also think that perhaps sometimes too much focus is given to the Vision, without ensuring the Mission is considered and nurtured. In summary, I believe that Vision + Mission are clearly interdependent; they are necessary, and I look forward to learning more.
Guest - Graham Dean on Monday, 01 February 2016 11:33

A question that torments organisations. What is the difference between Mission and Vision ?? An eye opener for me for sure, and the first time that I’ve really comprehended. Was the difference between Mission and Vision important to me before ?? No. Is it now ?? Absolutely. Within any organisation the Mission is a managerial responsibility. We are all manager, where ever we stand in the organisation. Managing present critical process, and a desired level of performance. But as Leaders or potential Leaders, Vision is where we should focus. Vision focuses on the future, is a source of inspiration, and motivation. Thinking wider though, much as an organisation may have a Vision for its own benefit, the purpose will have a wider context: of benefit to society or an industry as a whole. Mission and Vision are intertwined however. Without the unwavering focus on Mission and Vision it is much too easy to get stuck into the day to day routine. Something that business has far too much of !

A question that torments organisations. What is the difference between Mission and Vision ?? An eye opener for me for sure, and the first time that I’ve really comprehended. Was the difference between Mission and Vision important to me before ?? No. Is it now ?? Absolutely. Within any organisation the Mission is a managerial responsibility. We are all manager, where ever we stand in the organisation. Managing present critical process, and a desired level of performance. But as Leaders or potential Leaders, Vision is where we should focus. Vision focuses on the future, is a source of inspiration, and motivation. Thinking wider though, much as an organisation may have a Vision for its own benefit, the purpose will have a wider context: of benefit to society or an industry as a whole. Mission and Vision are intertwined however. Without the unwavering focus on Mission and Vision it is much too easy to get stuck into the day to day routine. Something that business has far too much of !
Guest - Caria Badenhorst on Monday, 01 February 2016 06:56

Both the mission and vision of a company should be able to withstand the changes of time. It should be so “big” in a sense that it will continue to drive a company forward in the long run. The vision is determined by the leadership of a company and can be seen as the ultimate goal where the company want to head to. The mission is also determined by the leadership, but in conjunction with the whole company, on how to get there. This can also be seen as the values of the company, how they want to conduct business and what they stand for. These two concepts are intertwined and interdependent and it needs all the people, leaders and employees, to make it come alive.

Both the mission and vision of a company should be able to withstand the changes of time. It should be so “big” in a sense that it will continue to drive a company forward in the long run. The vision is determined by the leadership of a company and can be seen as the ultimate goal where the company want to head to. The mission is also determined by the leadership, but in conjunction with the whole company, on how to get there. This can also be seen as the values of the company, how they want to conduct business and what they stand for. These two concepts are intertwined and interdependent and it needs all the people, leaders and employees, to make it come alive.
Guest - Okonkwo Emeka on Sunday, 31 January 2016 16:39

The meaning of the statement " A visionary leader" will have a new meaning to me after reading this blog. It is clear every organisation planning on standing the test of time needs to have a clear mission statement but needs to constantly update its vision to stay on course with its mission.

The meaning of the statement " A visionary leader" will have a new meaning to me after reading this blog. It is clear every organisation planning on standing the test of time needs to have a clear mission statement but needs to constantly update its vision to stay on course with its mission.
Guest - Noeleen Letcher on Sunday, 31 January 2016 12:38

Vision and Mission statements are essential to any organisations survival.
Without both of these, companies will cease to exist.
No Vision and Mission statements = a ship sailing without a rudder…………………………...….
No direction, no goal, absolute chaos, and with no hope of a future….
Both the Vision and Mission statements help direct the organisation, however for me a mission statement seeks to clarify and inform whilst a Vision statement challenges and inspires us.( We have goals to reach.).

The Vision statement should be commenced with first but cannot be completed in its entirety without the mission statement as Vision statements must align with the company’s core values that will form the mission statement.

Vision Statement: gives us a “Chrystal ball view” of where an organisation wants to be in the future, with a clear alignment of the organisations culture and values.
It should motivate and inspire in order for leaders and teams to “buy in”.
What better marketing tool could a Company have than a clear Vision statement that reflects a clear strategies to ensure sustainability?
But in order for any organisation to be sustainable, it has to constantly remain ahead of the competition, whilst continuing be innovative and therefore a Vision statement should evolve when goals and Visions change.
The Mission Statement - Shows us how we are going to get to the goal/ vision, the objectives which focus on internal processes, talking to both the leaders, and teams within the organisation and yet they must be related to customer needs, and the organisation values.
It should explain in layman’s terms what the company’s core foundation is made up of.

Vision and Mission statements are essential to any organisations survival. Without both of these, companies will cease to exist. No Vision and Mission statements = a ship sailing without a rudder…………………………...…. No direction, no goal, absolute chaos, and with no hope of a future…. Both the Vision and Mission statements help direct the organisation, however for me a mission statement seeks to clarify and inform whilst a Vision statement challenges and inspires us.( We have goals to reach.). The Vision statement should be commenced with first but cannot be completed in its entirety without the mission statement as Vision statements must align with the company’s core values that will form the mission statement. Vision Statement: gives us a “Chrystal ball view” of where an organisation wants to be in the future, with a clear alignment of the organisations culture and values. It should motivate and inspire in order for leaders and teams to “buy in”. What better marketing tool could a Company have than a clear Vision statement that reflects a clear strategies to ensure sustainability? But in order for any organisation to be sustainable, it has to constantly remain ahead of the competition, whilst continuing be innovative and therefore a Vision statement should evolve when goals and Visions change. The Mission Statement - Shows us how we are going to get to the goal/ vision, the objectives which focus on internal processes, talking to both the leaders, and teams within the organisation and yet they must be related to customer needs, and the organisation values. It should explain in layman’s terms what the company’s core foundation is made up of.
Guest - Vincent mthethwa on Sunday, 31 January 2016 09:11

Understanding the differences between vision and mission is not easy. To add to the confusion one also hears about values, strategy, principles, purpose, strategic principles, etc.

I feel that vision relates more to destination. Vision- what the organization wishes to be in the future.

Mission ( purpose ) describes what business the organization is in now and the future. Values describes the desired culture. Principles- how do we achieve the values.

Mission and vision statements are created to define goals of long term projects or initiatives. To motivate and inspire others in the organization. They outline the values and clearly give guidelines in doing so, marshal the ideas from start to finish. a precise plan to create a bright and inspiring future/growth of an organization.

Understanding the differences between vision and mission is not easy. To add to the confusion one also hears about values, strategy, principles, purpose, strategic principles, etc. I feel that vision relates more to destination. Vision- what the organization wishes to be in the future. Mission ( purpose ) describes what business the organization is in now and the future. Values describes the desired culture. Principles- how do we achieve the values. Mission and vision statements are created to define goals of long term projects or initiatives. To motivate and inspire others in the organization. They outline the values and clearly give guidelines in doing so, marshal the ideas from start to finish. a precise plan to create a bright and inspiring future/growth of an organization.
Guest - Doug Shewell on Friday, 29 January 2016 15:45

I think we overcomplicate the distinction. I read an excellent article today that said while a Mission statement describes what a company wants to do now, a Vision statement outlines what a company wants to be in the future. In fact the terms themselves are self explanatory and give an insight into the differentiation. A vision statement focuses on the future and is a source of inspiration and motivation. For it to be effective it does however have to be realistic and aligned with the organisation's values and culture. A mission statement identifies what we do today, for whom we do it and what is the benefit and I think it should focus on the present and what we as leaders, employees and the company should be doing now. I think Vision would come first as it's loftier ideals would guide the mission statement and help with tactical planning.

I think we overcomplicate the distinction. I read an excellent article today that said while a Mission statement describes what a company wants to do now, a Vision statement outlines what a company wants to be in the future. In fact the terms themselves are self explanatory and give an insight into the differentiation. A vision statement focuses on the future and is a source of inspiration and motivation. For it to be effective it does however have to be realistic and aligned with the organisation's values and culture. A mission statement identifies what we do today, for whom we do it and what is the benefit and I think it should focus on the present and what we as leaders, employees and the company should be doing now. I think Vision would come first as it's loftier ideals would guide the mission statement and help with tactical planning.
Guest - Jaco Wolmarans on Friday, 29 January 2016 11:18

There is no mission without a vision, the same goes for our business. It is the foundation and guideline for our organisation. The vision provides guidance and every employee must know what there role is to achieve one goal.

There is no mission without a vision, the same goes for our business. It is the foundation and guideline for our organisation. The vision provides guidance and every employee must know what there role is to achieve one goal.
Guest - Jako Botha on Friday, 29 January 2016 05:33

Mission. I think one must be very careful not to be on a mission to get to your vision. In this process you must be careful as a leader not to step on people to get to your vision. The mission must be set out in a brain storm session with the team to strategize how to proceed in getting to the vision or goal. The team must be involved from the start. The problem with most people is that they do not like change and once they are caught in that comfort zone it makes it even more difficult to get the team to buy in to the new mission or plan to reach the new vision.

Vision. If the team does not have the same vision as the leader, you will be on your own and you will be fighting a losing battle. Once again, lay out he plan(mission) with the help of the team, and then proceed as a team to reach the vision. One mission, one vision.

mission, plan, vision, goal.

Mission. I think one must be very careful not to be on a mission to get to your vision. In this process you must be careful as a leader not to step on people to get to your vision. The mission must be set out in a brain storm session with the team to strategize how to proceed in getting to the vision or goal. The team must be involved from the start. The problem with most people is that they do not like change and once they are caught in that comfort zone it makes it even more difficult to get the team to buy in to the new mission or plan to reach the new vision. Vision. If the team does not have the same vision as the leader, you will be on your own and you will be fighting a losing battle. Once again, lay out he plan(mission) with the help of the team, and then proceed as a team to reach the vision. One mission, one vision. mission, plan, vision, goal.
Guest - Udesh Mahadeo on Thursday, 28 January 2016 13:27

The article actually clears up a lot of misconceptions that I might have had with the definitions of Mission and Vision and the distinction between Mission and Vision. This being said, it is important that every enterprise has a mission and vision, and honestly every person should have his or her own mission and vision, but achieving your vision, using whatever means you choose to do so, should be the ultimate goal. A mission or vision statement should not be like a new years resolution, formed on the 1st of January and forgotten on the 2nd of January. It should be realistic, achievable and something that you or your organisation believes in to be worth the paper its written on, and having a better understanding of the differences between mission and vision helps to formulate a more solid acceptable statement.

The article actually clears up a lot of misconceptions that I might have had with the definitions of Mission and Vision and the distinction between Mission and Vision. This being said, it is important that every enterprise has a mission and vision, and honestly every person should have his or her own mission and vision, but achieving your vision, using whatever means you choose to do so, should be the ultimate goal. A mission or vision statement should not be like a new years resolution, formed on the 1st of January and forgotten on the 2nd of January. It should be realistic, achievable and something that you or your organisation believes in to be worth the paper its written on, and having a better understanding of the differences between mission and vision helps to formulate a more solid acceptable statement.
Guest - Loiwe Shawa on Thursday, 28 January 2016 08:44

I believe that mission and vision have a direct cause and effect relationship. There can be no mission without vision! As human beings we are naturally forward thinkers envisioning exciting possibilities and the 'big picture'(Vision). We then put everything that we can into perspective to make those possibilities happen (mission). The same applies to an organisation. The vision provides guidance and inspiration to where the organisation wants to be in the long term future. The mission on the other hand is about how the organisation will get to where they want to be. The mission can easily be refined depending on socio economic and environmental factors as well as ever changing consumer needs. Furthermore, the overall strategic business plan must align with the mission and the vision. Employees must therefore know that their daily work contributes towards accomplishing the mission (current/short term state) and ultimately the vision (future/long term state). It is therefore cardinal that organisations clearly define, outline and communicate both the mission and vision to employees. This will increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention ultimately turning the vision into reality.

I believe that mission and vision have a direct cause and effect relationship. There can be no mission without vision! As human beings we are naturally forward thinkers envisioning exciting possibilities and the 'big picture'(Vision). We then put everything that we can into perspective to make those possibilities happen (mission). The same applies to an organisation. The vision provides guidance and inspiration to where the organisation wants to be in the long term future. The mission on the other hand is about how the organisation will get to where they want to be. The mission can easily be refined depending on socio economic and environmental factors as well as ever changing consumer needs. Furthermore, the overall strategic business plan must align with the mission and the vision. Employees must therefore know that their daily work contributes towards accomplishing the mission (current/short term state) and ultimately the vision (future/long term state). It is therefore cardinal that organisations clearly define, outline and communicate both the mission and vision to employees. This will increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention ultimately turning the vision into reality.
Guest - loiwe shawa on Wednesday, 27 January 2016 10:15

I believe that mission and vision have a direct cause and effect relationship. There can be no mission without vision! As human beings we are naturally forward thinkers envisioning exciting possibilities and the 'big picture'(Vision). We then put everything that we can into perspective to make those possibilities happen (mission). The same applies to an organisation. The vision provides guidance and inspiration to where the organisation wants to be in the long term future. The mission on the other hand is about how the organisation will get to where they want to be. The mission can easily be refined depending on socio economic and environmental factors as well as ever changing consumer needs. Furthermore, the overall strategic business plan must align with the mission and the vision. Employees must therefore know that their daily work contributes towards accomplishing the mission (current/short term state) and ultimately the vision (future/long term state). It is therefore cardinal that organisations clearly define, outline and communicate both the mission and vision to employees. This will increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention ultimately turning the vision into reality.

I believe that mission and vision have a direct cause and effect relationship. There can be no mission without vision! As human beings we are naturally forward thinkers envisioning exciting possibilities and the 'big picture'(Vision). We then put everything that we can into perspective to make those possibilities happen (mission). The same applies to an organisation. The vision provides guidance and inspiration to where the organisation wants to be in the long term future. The mission on the other hand is about how the organisation will get to where they want to be. The mission can easily be refined depending on socio economic and environmental factors as well as ever changing consumer needs. Furthermore, the overall strategic business plan must align with the mission and the vision. Employees must therefore know that their daily work contributes towards accomplishing the mission (current/short term state) and ultimately the vision (future/long term state). It is therefore cardinal that organisations clearly define, outline and communicate both the mission and vision to employees. This will increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention ultimately turning the vision into reality.
Guest - Florence Mbugua on Friday, 22 January 2016 08:34

To some extent, I am convinced that vision and mission do have a direct cause and effect relationship. Vision indeed implies a future desired state and this gap, (current vs. future desired) is closed through strategy. Once the leadership creates the strategy, it is a management function to ignite and direct processes aimed at effective execution of the strategy (mission). Taking concrete example, ASPCA's vision " That the United States is a humane community in which all animals are treated with respect and kindness" sets a clear future desire while its mission "We provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout United States" infers what must be done to achieve the end goal (execute strategy) of humane treatment to animals. In this case I see a direct cause and effect relationship between Vision and Mission.

At inception, I agree no organised system can exist without a purpose or mission. Purpose is the feeling of being determined to achieve something. Once the purpose is clear, (what, why, for whom) then it is only logical to set a goal/vision which in its definition is the end toward which effort is directed. This then must energise the organisation and eventually when the goal is met, (strategic success) must evolve to create a new dissatisfied state, a new vision or maintain the success.

In conclusion, mission and vision are critical elements of an organised system. A clear vision will help align everyone towards the future desired state, while a clear mission will provide the much needed basis for developing plans that can be executed to achieve that future state.

To some extent, I am convinced that vision and mission do have a direct cause and effect relationship. Vision indeed implies a future desired state and this gap, (current vs. future desired) is closed through strategy. Once the leadership creates the strategy, it is a management function to ignite and direct processes aimed at effective execution of the strategy (mission). Taking concrete example, ASPCA's vision " That the United States is a humane community in which all animals are treated with respect and kindness" sets a clear future desire while its mission "We provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout United States" infers what must be done to achieve the end goal (execute strategy) of humane treatment to animals. In this case I see a direct cause and effect relationship between Vision and Mission. At inception, I agree no organised system can exist without a purpose or mission. Purpose is the feeling of being determined to achieve something. Once the purpose is clear, (what, why, for whom) then it is only logical to set a goal/vision which in its definition is the end toward which effort is directed. This then must energise the organisation and eventually when the goal is met, (strategic success) must evolve to create a new dissatisfied state, a new vision or maintain the success. In conclusion, mission and vision are critical elements of an organised system. A clear vision will help align everyone towards the future desired state, while a clear mission will provide the much needed basis for developing plans that can be executed to achieve that future state.
Guest - Gerhard Lanig on Sunday, 17 January 2016 15:20

I think visions are the starting points of all great ideas. First there is a desire, then there are people who develop a mission to implement their ideas to make a wish come true. By doing so, leaders motivate their managers. I agree that vision statements turn into strategic measures as we go, for instance, our pursuit for mobility finally led to the invention of the car after a long process of trials and errors. Reflecting Derek’s views and comparing them with our company’s four strategic principles I would come to the conclusion that they are all mission statements with a clear purpose asking for immediate responsibility. We are busy with finding ways of closing the gap between current and desired reality, and we express our vision by using key performance indicators such as financial or regional growth targets.

I think visions are the starting points of all great ideas. First there is a desire, then there are people who develop a mission to implement their ideas to make a wish come true. By doing so, leaders motivate their managers. I agree that vision statements turn into strategic measures as we go, for instance, our pursuit for mobility finally led to the invention of the car after a long process of trials and errors. Reflecting Derek’s views and comparing them with our company’s four strategic principles I would come to the conclusion that they are all mission statements with a clear purpose asking for immediate responsibility. We are busy with finding ways of closing the gap between current and desired reality, and we express our vision by using key performance indicators such as financial or regional growth targets.
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