Are you sitting comfortably? Welcome to my series of podcasts that will help you to navigate those inevitable difficult events at work that are part of being a manager.
Today I want to talk about how to draft a mission and vision.
Think about the last corporate vision statement or mission you saw. Was it something like ‘We aim to continuously exceed our customers’ expectations?’
Statements like these are ambiguous at best if they aren’t backed up by understanding who your customers are, what expectations they have, and how this aim can be achieved.
If you don’t know the answers to these questions any vision or mission statement is meaningless, and it won’t help your business achieve its goals.
Mission and vision statements can be very powerful tools for organisations when they’re done properly. They can provide direction and help an organisation focus on activities that are going to move it forward.
When people read your mission and vision statements, they should be able to see what your business does, where your business is going, and how you’re going to get there.
The difference between vision and mission statements is that vision statements are about setting goals and looking ahead, while mission statements are more about the day to day things the organisation is doing to reach the goals set in the vision statement.
First, let’s look at drafting a mission statement.
When you’re writing a mission statement, ask yourself these questions to give it some direction:
Why are you in business? So think about the reason you started and your passion for what you do.
Who are your customers and what needs do you fulfil for them now, and what needs are you going to fulfil for them in the future?
What image would you like customers to have of your company and how are you going to create that image?
What products and services do you offer? What are the features and benefits of these for customers?
What makes your product or service amazing? Don’t write vague statements like you offer ‘excellent service.’ What exactly is it that makes you different from your competitors?
And finally, what values guide you when making business decisions?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start putting everything together. Here are some tips to help you craft a valuable and meaningful mission statement:
Get people involved
Ask trusted co-workers to help. They might come up with ideas you hadn’t thought of and it gives you other perspectives on the business. You can also try asking people to come up with their version of a mission statement for the business. You’ll be able to take the best ideas from each and put them together. If you’re a sole trader, you can ask a close friend or family member for their opinion.
It’s important to set aside a few hours at least to work on your statement. A typical mission statement can be quite short, but it shouldn’t be rushed. It takes time to put together something with a bit of heart and soul. When you’re writing your statement, think about the language you’re using. It should be energetic, positive, and inspiring.
Then once you’ve written the statement, make sure employees know about it, and consider printing it on company brochures, business cards, and other marketing materials.
And it doesn’t end there. Your mission statement will need to be continually reviewed and will need to change when your vision statement does.
Let’s look at drafting a vision statement now.
A vision statement sets out the goals for the business. It’s about what you want the business to be and how you’re going to achieve those aims. It doesn’t give details of practical steps you’ll need to take to get there though, remember that this is the job of the mission statement.
A vision statement will include how you help customers, what value you add to their lives and to the wider world, and what you want to achieve as an organisation.
It will also help to think about your organisation’s values. What can you do now that aligns with your values, and where do you not align with them? And more importantly, how can you stay aligned to them 5-10 years in the future?
Once you’ve answered these questions, think about what success will look like if you achieve your aspirations. Don’t be afraid to think big and dream big. A vague, corporate sounding vision statement will not make you stand out. If you talk about providing ‘excellent service,’ how many other businesses are using this exact term? Differentiate yourself from the crowd.
A good vision statement will tell people where the business is going and what it’s priorities are, and it will also inspire employees to grow. Again, use inspiring language and avoid corporate jargon as it makes most people switch off.
Once the statement has been written, get feedback from employees and even customers. They should understand what you’re trying to say because if they don’t, the statement has no real meaning.
Finally, it’s important to regularly review your vision statement. It should change as your business changes, and as we all know, the only constant in business is change.
I hope that you got some good tips from today’s podcast, and I’ll see you next time.
This is The People Mentor, signing off.