Creating a Vision Statement that Guides Your Organization
As a business owner, it’s important that you guide your organization toward the future you envision. Part of that process includes establishing a mission statement, which we covered in a previous post. Additionally, you need to determine the vision you have for the organization and assess how it will move toward achievement. In this guide to vision statements, we’ll outline the purpose of the declaration, benefits of creating one, and provide vision statement examples to give you a starting point.
What is a Vision Statement?
Before we get too deep into the benefits and examples, let’s answer the simple question: What is a vision statement? A vision statement is a simple and concise declaration outlining the long-term goals and aspirations of a business. It also clearly defines the impact an organization aims to make on the industry in which it operates or on the world overall. You can think of this statement as a lighthouse, steering the ship (your business) in the right direction.
Vision vs. Mission Statement: What’s the Difference?
While a mission statement outlines what an organization does and who it serves, a vision statement focuses more on the future goals. It might outline the positive changes that the workforce aims to make through everyday tasks or providing specific products or services. Your company vision statement should steer every member of the team in the direction you seek to go.
What is the Purpose of a Vision Statement?
The purpose of your vision statement is to offer motivation and inspiration to those who review it. Oftentimes, those who interact with a vision statement are the employees of a business, using the information to make decisions and perform their tasks. But external individuals may also see the vision statement and determine whether to interact with a company based on its messaging.
A strong vision statement defines a company’s purpose while building unity among teams. It also influences those involved in making decisions that impact the organization in the long term, and motivates and inspires those who read it. Your vision statement might attract like-minded stakeholders and applicants for open positions who believe in its message and want to be part of the future.
What are the Benefits of a Strong Vision Statement?
Understanding the benefits of a well-crafted vision statement can make the creation process more meaningful.
Encourages support from management and employees
The first benefit is internal – your vision statement can draw support from all members of the team. When individuals plan to invest their time and energy into a specific purpose, they want to feel like it’s the right thing. With clear mission and vision statements in place, the desired actions of employees become more transparent. People know what is expected of them and how their tasks contribute to larger goals. Before taking action, an employee might consider whether it’s in alignment with the overall mission and vision of the business.
Supports recruiting efforts
Recruiting can be challenging, particularly in specific industries or positions. But one of the goals of hiring is to bring on the right talent, or people who want to be part of the team. By clearly establishing the vision of the business from the start, your business can attract people who feel aligned with it.
Performance standards also go hand-in-hand with the mission and vision statements, so those involved in hiring can review expectations before candidates get too far in the process. Taking these steps may help improve employee retention and aid in building more supportive teams.
Creates a guidepost for planning and decision making
When making decisions and planning for the future, your vision statement should always take a front seat. It should guide leaders and stakeholders in their efforts to make positive changes and work toward the goals outlined.
Stabilizes the workforce through significant changes
Businesses often go through significant changes, whether due to acquisitions, mergers, growth, or other situations. These shifts can cause employees a lot of uncertainty and stress. But the vision statement can serve as a guidepost, even through significant upheavals, while providing context to the reason behind the change.
Motivates teams to work toward shared goals
In order to be effective, your vision statement must resonate with the workforce and serve as a point of inspiration. Increasing revenue won’t provide motivation or help employees feel like they’re working toward a larger, more meaningful goal. Therefore, your vision statement should outline the value the company brings to its industry and how it will move forward. This type of concise statement serves as a motivator, encouraging team members to collaborate and meet shared initiatives.
Supports brand image and PR efforts
Your brand image matters in a variety of applications. Potential applicants to open positions will want to know what your company stands for and what they can expect if they were to get hired. Customers often remain loyal to organizations with positive brand images. Your vision statement can support the efforts you’re putting into public relations and branding.
What Makes a Good Vision Statement?
As you think about what to include in your company vision statement, make sure it meets the following guidelines:
- Motivating and inspiring
- Aligned with mission statement and values
How to Write a Vision Statement
Explore these steps to write a vision statement that reflects the future of your business.
Decide who to include in the discussion
Identify the vital stakeholders to include in your discussion about the vision statement. These might include members of the board, investors and company leaders. Their input can be highly valuable as you look forward to the future and decide what your organization aims to achieve.
Start with a list of values and characteristics
The next step is considering the values and characteristics that define your company. You can also incorporate keywords that relate to the product or service the organization offers, its goals and initiatives, and any adjectives that define the business overall.
Ask the right questions
Make sure to consider answers to the following foundational questions:
- What should be the value to customers and employees?
- Who will our company serve?
- Why will people want to work with us?
- What will be our strengths and values?
- Why will our company matter?
- What impact will we have?
- What are our most ambitious goals?
Compile all the information you have gathered and create a concise statement that reflects the most important aspects. You might start with a longer vision statement, and that’s okay. When you start out, focus less on the length and more on how you can communicate your vision in a way that will make sense to those who read it. It’s easy to trim a longer statement.
Ask for feedback and update accordingly
Make sure your team is involved in the process. With a vision statement crafted, communicate with all members of the workforce to get their feedback. You might get something back that you hadn’t considered, yet plays a significant role in the future of the organization.
Vision Statement Examples
If you need some inspiration, check out these examples from major companies:
- BBC: To be the most creative organization in the world.
- Google: To provide access to the world’s information in one click.
- Instagram: Capture and share the world’s moments.
- Microsoft: To empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.
- Samsung: Shape the future with innovation and intelligence.
- The Walt Disney Company: To be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.
What to Do with Your Vision Statement
Now that your vision statement has been created, shared, and refined, you can start sharing it with everyone who interacts with your company. Include it in marketing materials, on your website and in recruiting efforts. Consider how you can incorporate it in internal meetings to encourage collaboration and cohesion among team members. Communicate it regularly to ensure that every member of your workforce is familiar with the vision statement and knows their role in supporting it.
A vision statement can serve as a tool to support your business growth and achievement goals, as well as its overall success. Throughout the journey, business owners face unique challenges that require an ongoing commitment to the future. Consider how you can implement a statement that shapes your future.
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