In today’s fast-paced and competitive environment, almost all organizations have two essential elements or statements pinned down in their organizational mandate. These concepts are vision and mission.
Both these look like similar terms, or even people or leaders may use them interchangeably. However, there is a marked difference between the two.
- A vision statement defines an organization’s long-term aspirations and desired future state, providing inspiration and guidance for strategic decision-making and goal-setting.
- A mission statement outlines the organization’s core purpose, objectives, and approach to achieving its goals, serving as a practical guide for daily operations and decision-making.
- While both vision and mission statements are essential for organizational direction, the vision statement focuses on future aspirations, and the mission statement details the organization’s present activities and purpose.
Vision vs Mission
The word “vision” describes a concept or imagined mental representation of something. For example, she had a vision of a future with world peace. While “mission” refers to any significant task that someone is assigned to complete or any work that they feel is their obligation to complete.
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However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:
|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 it?||Where are we heading towards?||How will we get there?|
|Main Purpose||To inspire and hope the people to contribute towards attaining the goal||To provide guidance or a roadmap for achieving the goal|
|Benefit to employees||It helps understand why they are doing a particular task||Help recognize what exactly they are 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 it flexible?||Ideally will remain constant, and changes will be minimal||Yes, it can change as per changing circumstances or on the client’s perception, but it will relate to the main goal|
|Whether Is it focused on the present or the future?||Future i.e. focussed on tomorrow.||Present, i.e. focussed on today|
|Example of how a statement can look 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 an accurate statement of a company||The vision of LinkedIn is- “Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”||The mission 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 of the mission||The mission comes after the 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 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 will be impossible.
Vision can also be used to generate brand awareness and boost the organisation’s public relations and marketing efforts.
The reason is once the outer world recognizes the vision and if the organisation’s vision 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 for the organization.
What is Mission?
The mission, in 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 as 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 place, enabling all resources to work together to achieve 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 its goal.
- Vision promotes motivation and inspiration. The mission encourages us 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 organisation’s final destination. The mission may have a short timeline.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.