Having a strong vision, clear mission, and engaging purpose have never been as crucial as now. Although you may wonder, what exactly are the definitions of vision, mission, and purpose?
There are several definitions out there. Some are good, and some are outdated. The outdated ones focus on a company’s own benefits. For instance, vision, some traditional ways of describing it: “We are number one in interior design,” or “We are the best choice.” The outdated definitions will not work any longer. They will not appeal and touch the hearts and create meaningfulness for your team and customers.
What I have found valuable is to work with Vision, Objectives, Mission, Uniqueness, and Purpose.
So let´s have a look at the definitions!
Vision – your vision should describe your dream scenario or status of the world. Something that you find worth striving for beyond your organization. Several organizations can have the same or similar vision. You will find your best partners among those that share the same vision with you. All of you will strive in the same direction.
Take, for instance, a vision where all children have access to nutritious food. You can have day-cares, food suppliers, food producers, and many other players working towards the same vision. Probably all of the players will have different ways of contributing to making the vision come true.
When you visualize your vision, make sure to get in touch with both a description – what does it look like? As well as feelings- how does it make you feel?
Try to avoid negations. Describe your vision in the present. The now. It is an excellent way to fool your brain and heart. A strong vision will magnetize the reality to come true.
Warber Parker, that offers eyewear at affordable prices, has the following vision:
“We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.
We also believe that everyone has the right to see.”
Objectives describe your achievements by a specific point of time. Depending on the time point of your choice, it will have a direct impact on your solution.
SpaceX would never be so disruptive if they didn’t have such a tight time frame. The tight time frame forced them to think differently. Another benefit of having a set objective is to have a reference point – will our current project take as closer to our goals? If not, don´t bother working on it. Also, it is quite nice to be able to “check” and accomplish one objective at a time.
Mission describes how you are contributing to making your vision come true. A good mission statement is so concrete, so it tells what you are not doing. A mission statement will increase in importance as more organizations become self-organized and agile.
A good example is Asana´s mission statement:
“To help humanity thrive by enabling the world’s teams to work together effortlessly.”
Another example is Linkedin. Their mission statement is:
“Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
Uniqueness describes the core of your essence. It is time for all of us to step up, be whole and provide the society with our unique gifts. We are all individual beings. When we form teams, every team will also be unique. No team will be identical to another simply because we are all unique individuals. What is your uniqueness as a person and as a group? How can you strengthen and develop your unique gifts to the world?
Your uniqueness is your core foundation to nourish and sustain. No one can copy a better version of you. No one can copy a better version of an authentic team. Just be sure to be the authentic you.
Purpose describes your WHY. It answers why do you exist? A good purpose statement gives you fuel to continue on your mission to realize your vision.
Like your vision, your purpose addresses something beyond yourself. Check out this post that elaborates more on the importance of purpose: The Power of Purpose – How To Create a Purpose-Driven Organization.
As you see from the examples of mission above, statements that combine mission and purpose are quite common.
Very few organizations today have real vision. What they call a vision is usually a mission. By not having a vision statement, they lose the possibilities to tap into the power of manifestation contained in a vision.
I see with gratefulness, that these definitions are starting to be widely applied. They will make a difference in how to run a business. They switch focus from internal gain (ego focus) to contribute beyond ourselves (altruism).
As always, similar ideas get canalized by several individuals. These definitions, I feel humbled to have proposed almost ten years ago. One note to you and myself: It is worth being true to your wisdom even though if you are too early, some might call it naive.
Do you know any good vision, mission, and purpose statements? Please share!