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HR in Focus The Difference Between a Vision & a Mission and their Importance

Whilst some Companies might exist without a Mission or a Vision, some find it hard to connect the dots of their true purpose without a statement that conjures hope, direction, clarity and the need for success. For those that have seen the benefit in connecting what they do every day with the bigger picture, does your Vision and Mission inspire your team? Does it resonate with them? Do they recognize how what they do every day is connected with the corporate Vision and Mission? If your Vision or Mission does not propel your team members every day to be excited, and to be fully engaged in their duties then your Vision is probably not conveying the right message in a way that resonates with your team members. Furthermore, your Vision might not have been promulgated and communicated with your team in a way that would have elicited their buy-in.

One of the biggest issues I have come across regarding team members’ connection to the company and their purpose is a “Lack of Buy-In”. Many companies make the mistake of alienating their team members when it comes to significant directions that require their support to succeed. This often sabotages the success of any initiative, enterprise or company. The simple rule is that Leaders and executives plan because of their insight, they ‘see the forest from the trees’, but the majority of the work that actually creates success lies with the team members. The Golden Rule therefore is to always ensure that team members are involved and feel that they are a part of what is going on. Any Vision and Mission written, must be communicated in such a way that your team members are moved and encouraged. If your Team members are not driven in a manner that fulfils your purpose and there seems to be a misalignment with the results produced, it might be time to revisit your Vision and Mission as well as your team’s understanding of their purpose.

A Vision and Mission are two different concepts and should remain as such. Some companies choose to have both, and some have either one or the other. Ideally it is best to have two because they each have a specific purpose: A Vision is futuristic and long term. A Mission is a statement to your stakeholders on the ‘everyday’ strategy that serves to realize that Vision.

The Vision and its Purpose

A Vision statement delineates what the Company’s Future looks like in a couple of years and it gives team members and clientele something to look forward to. It gives meaning to everything done on a daily basis. The statement should be inspiring in such a way as to encourage the energy and motivational levels required to have employees to look forward to a bright and prosperous future. This means that every day your employees are working towards the materialization of those Goals for the foreseeable future. A Vision that is lacklustre, unclear and nebulous tends to conjure mixed feelings, produces ambiguous connotations and fails to achieve the intended results. Similarly, a good Vision that is neither prominently displayed nor regularly referred to is not effective in maintaining your team’s motivation towards the achievement of the Company’s Goals. To ensure that the Vision is achievable and aligned with the steps everyone needs to take to achieve it, it is important to ensure that the stakeholders are also part of the process so that they buy-in to the Plan.

The Mission and its Purpose

A Mission statement provides direction regarding the Company’s everyday reason for existing. It is the Company’s pledge to its employees and Customers. Basically, as opposed to the Vision, which is long term, a Mission is an everyday call to action. However, similar to a Vision it needs to inspire, be clear and able to generate positive actions based on its Value Proposition to stakeholders, most importantly Customers and Employees. Both the Vision and Mission must provide Alignment with the Company’s Purpose in order to be truly effective. The main goal is to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals and has the same purpose. It keeps everyone working with the same agenda. Team Members feel more informed, more goal and solutions oriented, and more harmonious when what they do every single day connects them on multiple levels.

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