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Mission Statements Versus Vision Statements

written by: S Wood•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 8/25/2011

A question that some students and practitioners of management have is, “What’s the difference between mission and vision statements?" While a mission statement highlights the purpose, a vision statement paints the future goals of the company.

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    Mission and Vision Statements – The Difference between the Two Corporate Guides

    company purpose and destination Unfurl the difference between mission and vision statements with this view: A mission statement tells what the company does or aims to accomplish. In comparison, a vision statement indicates the eventual milestone the organization would like to reach.

    Aim of Mission and Vision Statements: These are the strong foundations to architect and implement business plans. The statements are also powerful business tools to propagate the message of corporate purpose and plans to employees, customers and others. The mission and vision declarations steer everyone in the company in the same direction to fulfill its objectives.

    The mission and vision statements also hold the mirror to the values of the company. Further, the declarations help instill confidence in and gain the commitment of employees to work for its purpose. The mission and vision signposts should also motivate the employees to perform well.

    Traits of Mission and Vision Statements: On the time continuum, mission refers to the present. In contrast, vision points to the future. Whereas the mission statement talks of the company’s purpose, the vision statement refers to the destination. In essence, these documents embody the principles and desires of the company.

    A short sentence or a paragraph for the mission and vision statements should attract people to read. Clear and simple words serve the aim of those statements. In case of a single sentence, a separate paragraph can expand on the corporate message.

    Many mission and vision statements emphasize, among others, products, services and clients. In the modern business world, organizations' mission and vision focus on their core values and aspirations.

    With the necessary inputs on the present state and a clear picture of the future of the company, you can craft the mission and vision statements on your own.

    Mission and Vision Statement Examples:

    Microsoft mission statement: “At Microsoft, our mission and values are to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential"

    SAP vision statement: “Helping Companies Become Best-Run Businesses"

    Support for the Corporate Mission and Vision: A corporate intention and goals without the support to it, from employees, would have no value. The mission and vision statements thus shouldn’t be a mere plaque on the wall that no one wants to see. A company manager wouldn’t want to see the surprise looks or hear the yawns from her subordinates when she speaks of the mission and vision of the company. People would react that way because they have never heard of the corporate purpose and destination before.

    The employee orientation program presents a perfect opportunity to introduce the new recruits to the company’s purpose. Such a program should also highlight the difference between mission and vision statements. Why? It helps participants align their beliefs and efforts with of the company to contribute and grow.


Writing Great Mission & Vision Statements

It's important to put some real thought into the mission and vision statements for your business before you even open your doors to the public. In this series, find useful tips for constructing these statements along with examples of what works - and what doesn't.
  1. Mission Statements Versus Vision Statements
  2. Write a Stronger Mission Statement: A Look at Successful Formats
  3. Examining Business Mission Statements: Samples from High-Profile Companies
  4. How Solid Is Your Vision Statement? Examples of Some Bad Ones
  5. Tips for Coming Up With a Great Vision Statement