In today’s fast-paced and competitive environment, almost all the organizations have two important elements or statements pinned down in their organizational mandate. These concepts are vision and mission. Both these look similar terms or even people or leaders may use them interchangeably, however, there is a marked difference between the two.
Vision vs Mission
The main difference between vision and mission is that vision is the eventual objective or why people are doing a particular activity, whereas mission denotes what the people/organization should do to achieve that objective (i.e. “how”).
However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:
Comparison Table Between Vision and Mission (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter of Comparison||Vision||Mission|
|Meaning||The ultimate goal to be achieved||A statement indicating the activities to be pursued for accomplishing a goal|
|In simple words how to describe?||Where are we heading towards?||How will we reach there?|
|Main Purpose||To inspire and hope to the people to contribute towards attaining the goal||To provide guidance or roadmap for achieving the goal|
|Benefit to employees||Helps understand why they are doing a particular task||Help recognize what exactly are they doing|
|Benefit to organization||The company understands what it wants to achieve in future||The company recognizes what it should do in the present|
|Whether it can change or is flexible?||Ideally will remain constant, changes will be minimal||Yes, it can change as per changing circumstances or on the client perception but will relate to the main goal|
|Whether it is focussed on the present or future?||Future i.e. focussed on tomorrow||Present i.e. focussed on today|
|Example of how a statement can look like or how it can be designed||Where does the company intend to go in the future? By when?||What does the company need to perform today? For whom should the company serve?|
|Example of a real statement of a company||The vision of LinkedIn is- “Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce”||The mission of LinkedIn is- “The mission of LinkedIn is simple: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”|
|Whether vision comes first or mission?||Vision comes first as it guides the overall structure for mission||The mission comes after vision|
|Timeline||Long timeline because it focuses on achieving the final goal||Short timeline because it can be changed as per prevailing circumstances|
What is Vision?
Vision is a succinct narration of a company or unit’s final objective or aspirations. It acts as a directing principle to the organization and all those working under the same for strategic planning of the desired corporate initiatives and actions.
In simple words, vision signifies how an organization or an organization concerning the outer world will look like in the future i.e. the desired goal of the economic activity undertaken by the organization.
Vision is an important starting point because it provides direction to the organization. All the next set of activities are dependent on vision. Unless the organization comes up with a clear and specific vision and communicates the same to everyone concerned, the achievement of the mission would be impossible.
Vision can also be used to generate brand awareness and boost public relations and marketing efforts of the organization.
The reason being once the outer world recognizes the vision and if the vision of the organization relates to creating some value proposition for the public at large, this can generate a strong loyal customer base spread across the globe generating growth of the organization.
What is Mission?
The mission is simple terms means a statement or short narration of what the organization is doing in the present state. Mission sets the framework for the set of activities performed by units/individuals across the entity. Mission guides how to achieve the vision.
Mission provides guiding support to the vision statement and provides a clear set of directions to perform certain activities in the present state. The mission helps the employees acknowledge what they are currently doing as a part of the organisational setup.
Employees must be more associated with the mission as the activities performed as a part of the mission can serve a performance benchmark for appraisal and other promotional aspects.
The mission helps the company finally achieve what the company is looking for (i.e. the goal). The organizational objectives cannot be fulfilled unless the necessary steps (in the form of a mission) are taken at the right time and right place enabling all resources to work together for the achievement of ultimate objectives.
Mission enables to provide clarity to the organizational intentions and how to attain those.
Main Differences Between Vision and Mission
- Vision focuses on the future or tomorrow. The mission focuses on the present or today.
- Vision helps in understanding the ultimate goal/objective of an organization. The mission helps to recognize what an organization does to achieve the goal.
- Vision promotes motivation and inspiration. The mission encourages to keep a focus on the current state of affairs performed.
- Vision signifies the company’s final destination. Mission denotes how a company will reach that destination.
- Vision will not change so frequently as it is the company’s final objective. The mission may change taking into account the changing circumstances.
- Vision has a long timeline because that is the final destination of the organization. The mission may have a short timeline.
Vision and mission are important building blocks of organizational culture. Both of them serve as critical components in telling the people what they need to achieve and why they need to achieve the same.
This enables the companies to foster employee cohesiveness eventually raising organizational productivity and efficiency.
It is vital to note that though the terms vision and mission may be used as synonyms, both are dependent on each other and hence an organization or any unit cannot survive or function without them.
It would be an apt statement to make that both form the backbone of an enterprise. Also, if both these terms and their underlying philosophy are utilized and made a part of our personal lives it can lead to an effective and right step for individual prosperity.