Vision and Mission

by Rus Slater

Introduction

This topic aims to look at corporate vision and mission from the perspectives of general principles, creating a vision and a mission statement and finally, and most importantly, getting these to have impact rather than gathering dust in the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet.

It will also look at the ‘smaller’ scale subject of vision and mission at a departmental, team and personal level; in the latter case, not so much from the religious or philosophical ‘Why am I here?’ point of view, but more from the ‘Now that I’m here, what do I want out of life?’

So many companies talk about vision and mission; and yet, if you went into almost any organisation in the world and asked the people on the shop floor, the offices or even around the water cooler, ‘What is the mission of your organisation?’, it is doubtful whether you would get a meaningful answer in more that a handful of cases!

Often, people see vision and mission as vague platitudes, thought up by some pretentious MBA director-wannabe, which have very little bearing on what the organisation actually does and even less effect on the everyday work of the people engaged with the company. However, the higher up you get in the hierarchy of your organisation, the more likely you are to be touched on a daily basis by the organisation’s vision and mission statements.

Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then we shall find the way.

Abraham Lincoln

If you are reading this topic, it is probably because your short-term mission is to make sure that the paragraph above isn’t relevant where you are!

Note: the words ‘corporate’ and ‘organisational’ are used throughout this document to describe the entity, which may actually be a charity, agency, public sector body, commercial company, partnership social enterprise or whatever.