A vision statement identifies where the organization wants or intends to be in the future or where it should be to best meet the needs of the stakeholders. It describes dreams and aspirations for the future. It presents the opportunity to view things ahead of themselves to answer the question “where we want to be”.
A vision statement is majorly for the organization and its members’ use, as it contributes to effective planning and decision making. It incorporates a shared understanding of the nature and aim of the organization and utilizes this understanding to direct and guide the organization towards a better purpose. It describes how the organizational future would appear to be. An effective vision statement should have the following features
- Should be short for ease of memorization.
- It must be unambiguous for ease of comprehension.
- The dreams and aspirations should be ambitious but rational and realistic.
- Be Abstract and broad enough to capture the organization’s interests and strategic direction over time.
- It must be clear and concise.
- Must be Future-Oriented to show where the company intends to be.
- Be stable since it is a long-term goal should withstand environmental turbulence.
- Be challenging and not too obvious to be easily achieved.
- Be inspiring to create unity of action in its pursuit
- Clear sense of purpose
An organizations’ vision must be deeply instilled, understood, and owned by everyone involved. It is the vision statement that describes what a company desires to achieve in the long run and directs the planning and execution of corporate-level strategies.
A mission statement is a statement that shows the purpose or role the organization’s existence intends to serve. It describes the organizational operations, the reason for the operations, the stakeholders and its key unique features, value system among others. A mission statement differentiates an organization from others by explaining its broad scope of activities, its products, and the technologies it uses to achieve its goals and objectives. It explains the present state.
Mission statements are normally a bit lengthy and communicate to the general public and all stakeholders at that thus the need to be all-inclusive to include all or most of the key and essential components as outlined.
- Purpose: What is the reason for the company’s existence?
- Products: What products does the firm engage in?
- Markets: Geographically, what is the context of firm operations?
- Customers: Who are the firm’s key customers/consumers?
- Technology: Is the firm technologically current?
- Philosophy: What are the basic beliefs, value system, aspirations, and ethical priorities of the firm?
- Uniqueness: What is the firm’s distinctive competence/competitive advantage point?
- Corporate Social Responsibility Statement: Is the firm responsive to social, community, and environmental concerns?
- Key stakeholders concern: Other than customers, who are the key stakeholders and how are they valued?
Features of a Mission statement
- The mission must be feasible and achievable.
- The mission should be clear enough for comprehension and subsequent action.
- It should be meaningful and inspiring to the reader.
- It should be precise, neither too broad nor too narrow.
- It should be unique and distinctive to have a long-lasting impression on the reader.
- It should be analytical, that is, should capture the key components of the organization.
- It should be credible and convincing
- Capture various stakeholders’ interests and reconcile the diverse views.
- Generate the impression that the firm is successful, has direction, and is worthwhile
- Dynamic in orientation
Importance of Mission Statements
- Helps clarify the direction hence key in Strategic planning
- Motivates employees and accords them unity of purpose
- Helps in value set which is key in shaping organizational culture.
- A reminder of why the business exists.
- Inspires stakeholders in their dealings with the company
A goal is a desired long-term future state that an organization strives to achieve. Goals specify in particular what must be done if an organization is to attain mission hence vision. Goals make the mission more prominent and concrete by coordinating and integrating various functional and departmental areas in an organization. Goals have the following features:
- They are broad
- Are long-term in nature and determines the outcomes to be achieved in the future.
- They show the overarching direction of the business.
- They align with the company mission hence vision.
- Goals are large in size and intangible.
- Goals have no specific time frames.
- A goal describes where the company wants to be in the future but doesn’t explain its plans to get there.
Objectives are described as specific results to be attained within a specified short period of time so as to achieve the goals, mission, and vision respectively in the long run. Objectives state the direction, aid in evaluation, create synergy, reveal priorities, focus synchronization, and provide a basis for effective planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling activities.
By stating its objectives, a firm commits itself to what it has to achieve for its various stakeholders since objectives state the target to be achieved in a given period of time and the measures to be adopted to attain them, these, in turn, provide the standards upon which performance appraisal can be conducted to determine the extent of performance. In the absence of objectives, an organization would have no clear and definite basis for evaluating its performance.
Key features of objectives
Most organizations use the S.M.A.R.T criteria and goal setting method to define the key features of objectives.
- The specific should point at one item at a time.
- Measurable- The ability to check with certainty the extent of performance.
- Attainable – Possibility to achieve the set goals, realism.
- Relevant and to the organizational purpose.
- Time-bound- Constrained to a specified limited time frame.
- Different objectives should correlate with each other.
- Objectives must be understandable.
- Objects must be concrete- provide a clear budget and tangible results.
Objectives are the specific actions and measurable steps your company must have to aid its pursuit for goal attainment. They give you a clear understanding of the specific tasks to be completed in order to achieve the goal. Goals and objectives are different concepts that work together to achieve the desired results and maximize productivity. Creating goals without clear objectives leads to goals that never get accomplished.
Differences between goals and objectives
|Direction and overall destination of your company to help in vision realization
|Exact actions and steps to reach the goals
|Specific and precise
|Broad in scope
|Narrow in scope
|Large in size, the whole
|Small chunks, part of the whole
|A general outcome
|Specific measurable actions
|Difficult and intangible
|Easy, measurable, and tangible
|Annual profit growth of 10%
|Medium to short term
Values help set the platform against which the company vision and mission can be attained. It refers to the core ethics that a firm wants to identify itself with hence defining the best culture that supports the attainment of company goals. Clear organizational values inspire employees to give their best and set exemplary standards for appropriate aspirations and behavior in the workplace. It also assures the stakeholders that they are dealing with the right company. An organization’s value is what a company stands for, its behavior, and the types of decisions it makes. The advantages of organizational values are as follows-
- It sets the tone for the entire organization and directs how to conduct all its business
- Organizational values shape the employees towards common goals and objectives
- Values reduce the risk associated with inappropriate behavior in the company
- Organizational values foster integrity, discipline, and accountability.
- Organizational values help the employees establish priorities in their work-life
- With solid values, employees will feel proud to be associated with the company hence a committed workforce
- Help attract, retain and motivate employees in an organization
- Values lay the foundation for a corporate brand hence image.
- Strong values are directly related to firm profitability, performance, and growth.