Vision, mission and objectives – do they matter? They do in passionate, close-knit teams with a mission to hit growth and financial objectives. Directors and shareholders need them for more expansion and perhaps debt funding opportunities. When an organisation gets bigger or you are part of it and hear words like vision, mission and objectives in planning meetings, it can seem boring. It can also be bad leadership and management if the terms are used inappropriately. We work with people who have new ideas and ask, how do we get funding or interest for our idea? The answer is, write down a plan so it can be shared. And within it there is no golden rule saying you must have particular headings or paragraphs. However there are many templates, formats, websites and guides on the internet – and here are some. And by looking at lots of these guides to business plans some key areas of information are clearly needed. Plus, by talking to people who have been successful, entrepreneurs and also the finance community, a picture emerges. I am just looking at the vision, mission and objectives: why they are important, and how they differ, and can help focus your planning.
A vision statement gives your organization’s objectives, ideally based on external foresight, intended to guide internal decision-making. A vision statement is not limited to business organizations and may also be used by non-profit organisations. A vision statement is a company’s road map, indicating both what the company wants to become and guiding initiatives by setting a defined direction for the company’s growth. Vision statements ideally have less revisions than operational goals which may be updated constantly. Vision statements can range in length from short sentences to paragraphs – which is not ideal! One definition of a vision statement according to BusinessDictionary is “An aspirational description of what an organisation would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.” The difference between a vision and mission statement is nicely explained in this video by Bruce D Johnson.
In answering Vision, mission and objectives – do they matter? Next do you have a purpose? A mission statement is a short statement of your organization’s purpose, with the scope of operations: what kind of product or service you provide, primary customers or market, and geographical region of operation. It may include a short statement of such fundamental matters as the organization’s values or philosophies, the business’s main competitive advantages. It is important that a mission statement is not confused with a vision statement. The reason why it is important that a mission statement and vision statement are not confused is because they both serve different purposes. Vision statements tend to be more related to discussing where a company aims to be in the future.
Objectives should be SMART. This means the measure has a Specific purpose, Achievable, Relevant and Time phased. And objectives are best considered in terms of KPIs. A performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a type of performance measurement. KPIs evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity. It’s a level down from the mission and sometimes success is defined in terms of making progress toward strategic goals. So, there is a link for flow between the Vision, Mission and Objectives demonstrating a good understanding of what is important to the organization.
Simon Sinek has a famous viral video where he says you need to by asking “why?”, when creating a vision. See it on our storify page with other content on this topic. This is what makes companies such as Apple rise above competitors. So why do you do what you do? Then how do you do it and finally what do you do. Your Why, fits neatly into answering the original question, vision, mission and objectives – do they matter? Yes they do as we map our way through our lives, this map of adult life is a good guide to this.
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Peter Eales BA Hons Chartered Marketer FCIM FIDM
Founder Director Dorset Business Angels
MD o i solutions limited