How to craft effective Vision and Mission Statements

A well written Mission and Vision Statement will provide guidance and motivation to your employees. It will help to ensure your employee are working towards a common purpose. As an entrepreneur or business owner this common purpose is why you started the business in the first place.

What is a Mission Statement? A mission statement is a short summary of an organization’s reason for being in business.  Ideally it should be one sentence that is easily remembered by employees, customers. and other stakeholders.

What is a Vision Statement? A vision statement is a short description of an organization’s aspirations and its place in the world, while your mission statement should be easy to remember your vision should resonate with as many people as possible. It should help them align with your company’s values.

I am going to look at three well known and successful companies. How much of their success is due to their mission and vision statements I would not like to say but I am sure it does not hurt. These are three of the best mission and vision statements I have found on the internet.

Firstly, Tesla a company much in the news today.

Mission statement: To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.

Vision statement: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Note the clever use of the word accelerate in the vision statement with its connection to cars and moving forward. The vision statement also allows Telsa to move beyond cars to power storage solutions.

The focus on sustainable solutions using electric cars and sustainable energy will resonate with many people across the globe. It is this vision of the future that has made Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla among other futuristic businesses such as SpaceX the richest man in the world, having recently surpass Jeff Besoz the founder of Amazon.

Nike, the athletic wear company’s mission and vision may seem plain in comparison to Tesla but with a clever twist they have made in applicable to everyone.

Mission statement: Create groundbreaking sports innovations, make our products sustainably, build a creative and diverse global team, and make a positive impact in communities where we live and work.

Vision statement: Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.

The mission statement may seem uninspiring, but it does provide guidance to their employees and communicates to the world their values.

The phrase make our products sustainably will guide employees to find more sustainable solutions and to put sustainability high on the criteria list when making decisions.

Build a creative and diverse global team; will drive hiring and retention strategies. Important in a company that sources from countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh. Reminding employees from those countries that they too are an important part of the Nike team.

Make a positive impact in the communities where we live and work reminds employees and manager of the company’s social responsibility.

However, for me it’s the vision that is really clever.

Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.

Just behind the word athlete there is an asterisk, and a foot note explains If you have a body, you are an athlete. By the asterisk and footnote Nike shows it is there for everyone, not just for the professional or high-performance amateur. It also promotes a vision of equality. We cannot all be Michael Jordan but that does not mean we are any less important to Nike.

The final example for today is IKEA the iconic and most successful furniture retailer around the world.

Mission statement: Offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.

Vision statement: To create a better everyday life for the many people.

The mission statement does sum up what IKEA does. Design is key. It is their core competence. Although IKEA  company’s headquarters are now in the Netherlands the design studios remain in Sweden. There they focus on making well designed functional home furnishing products. The prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them part of the mission statement is accomplished by outsourcing the manufacturing processes to companies’ skill at making products as economically as possible.

The vision statement – To create a better everyday life for many people must inspire IKEA’s employees. Who could not want to work with the goal of making peoples everyday life special?

I am sure almost every Tesla, Nike and IKEA employee knows and can repeat their respective company’s vision.

I will finish with a story I read which I cannot guarantee to be true, but if it is not true it should be. The story is set at a US NASA facility in the mid 1960’s at the height of the space race. The story goes that a Janitor was asked what was he doing? He replied he was helping man go to the moon.

The janitor saw his role in the big picture. Although some might see the janitors role as menial without clean bathrooms NASA would not be able to hire the best talent needed to launch a man to the moon.

That is what you want to be trying to achieve with your mission and vision. To ensure every employee to understands the mission and vision of your company and to understand the role they play in accomplishing those missions and visions.

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