Who Needs Vision and/or Mission Statements?

Is it only created by the CEO or upper-level management? Do individual departments and/or divisions need vision and mission statements to supplement and motivate their respective contributions to the vision of the CEO? What is the difference between a Vision Statement and a Mission Statement? Or are they one and the same? Do they really help the organization? Do goals provide the same direction as a vision and/or mission statement?

King Solomon says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Prov. 29:18 KJV). Leadership pundits say that vision is crucial to seeing where you want to go. They say it serves as the “North Star” for the organization to help keep their bearing or direction on target as they move forward, which also helps team members accomplish the organizational mission or purpose. (Henry & Richard Blackaby – Spiritual Leadership)

The “mind’s eye” must “see” what is viewed in front of us or it will be next to impossible to keep the mind focused on the intended objective. Ships and aircraft use radar and GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) to insure they are on the right course. Years ago when tennis was experiencing a resurgence in popularity, I read a book called The Inner Game of Tennis. The premise was that in order to direct the racket to hit the ball correctly, the player had to not only swing correctly, they must also “see” the racket coming through it arc toward the ball. Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book taught about hitting a golf ball in a similar manner.

Arguably, vision is crucial for individuals and organizations in order to keep focused on their intended purpose, i.e. mission. This is especially true in today’s fast-paced, technology driven world. What might seem like a good idea right now, in about 30 seconds might be obsolete. Advertisements tend to change the visionary view every 5 or 6 seconds, making it hard to keep focused on any one thought or moment.

So let’s discuss these questions a bit. Please weigh in with a comment on one of more of the questions I have raised.

Who creates and sets the organizational vision and/or mission?

Should it be a collaborative endeavor between a CEO and several managers?

Should individual entities within the organization have a vision and/or mission statement?

Are vision and mission statements one and the same?

Do goals provide the same impact and direction as a vision and/or mission statement?

Is a vision and/or mission statement essential to organizational success?



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