Vision and Mission

by Rus Slater


A mission statement defines an organisation’s ‘business’, its ‘purpose’, its current, or overall, objective and its approach to reaching this objective.

Without a clear and concise, communicated vision, set of values and a mission statement about how we are going to make achievements and what they are; think – how do people know what’s happening and how to get there?

Diane Mooney

The corporate mission should sit comfortably with and on the vision.

Each part of the corporation, each division, business unit, department, function, office, discipline or whatever subdivision you use, can and should derive its own mission from the corporate mission.

Each manager can derive his or her team mission from the level above. Each person’s job description or targets can be derived from these.

There is the story of a journalist who visited a Microsoft distribution warehouse in California in the 1980s. While waiting for someone, he started a conversation with a chap who was sweeping the floor. He asked the man what he did at Microsoft; the response was ‘I’m helping to put a computer in every home in America.’

This same story is also told about a man sweeping the floor of a hanger at NASA in the 1960s: when Kennedy visited and asked him what he was doing, he answered that he was helping put a man on the moon. So the stories may well be apocryphal; but whether true or not, they still make the point!

The man’s simple mission was to keep the floor clear of rubbish, but he absolutely knew why he was doing it!

The ultimate outcome must be relevant to everybody. Once they see clearly how and why their day-to-day activities contribute to the mission of the organisation, they will be far less likely to wonder what they are doing and why. They will be far more likely to contribute intelligently and manage their own quality without supervision. They will probably feel more confident that their contribution makes them valuable to the organisation and therefore more secure.