Q & A – What is a vision statement and a mission statement?

Q: What is a vision statement and a mission statement?

A: A strategic plan should include both a vision statement and a mission statement.

A vision statement describes what success will look like in the future for an organization.  It is the clear articulation of an idea that unites and motivates people to action.  An effective vision statement is short enough to be remembered, is easily understood, is challenging, realistic, and responsive to change.

A mission statement captures the essence of an organization and its reason for being.  It answers the questions: Why does our organization exist?  What business are we in?  Who are our customers?  For example, the mission statement for Otis Elevator clearly indicates responses to these questions: “To provide any customer a means of moving people and things up, down, and sideways over short distances with higher reliability than any similar enterprise in the world.”
Both the vision and mission statements are often supported by a values statement which contains a set of commonly held principles and beliefs that guide the endeavors of the organization.  These values may include such things as integrity, honesty, risk taking, collaboration, empowerment, etc.