Many organisations don’t fully understand the concepts of mission and vision.
When asked to explain the company’s mission and vision, answers such as, “We want to grow turnover by 10% each year and to be the biggest and most successful in our sector,” are often stated.
Compare this with those of IKEA, Amazon, BT, McDonald’s and Intel:
“IKEA’s vision is to create a better everyday life for many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering 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.”
“Amazon’s vision is to be the earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
“BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world.”
“McDonald’s vision is to be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.”
“Intel’s mission is to delight our customers, employees, and shareholders by relentlessly delivering the platform and technology advancements that become essential to the way we work and live.”
The first example is simply statement of what the organisation wants for itself with no reference to their ethos or how they will go about achieving their objectives. Those of IKEA, Amazon, BT, McDonald’s and Intel say what each company aims to offer its customers in order to achieve its vision.
The mission is the purpose behind an organisation’s existence. It should set out how the organisation’s products or services meet the needs of the marketplace in an honest and meaningful way. Profitability, growth and success are the by-products of the pursuit of the mission.
Vision is the position the organisation wants to attain. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the biggest and most successful as long as it is accompanied by a clear mission – ideally, one which inspires its customers, employees and shareholders.
Highly successful businesses are usually identifiable by their points of difference. Establishing clear differentiators is more important than ever in today’s marketplace where barriers to entry in many industries are now almost non-existent. It is also important that everyone in your organisation understands and is inspired by its unique identity and what it does better than others.