A mission statement describes what the company core business is and what it does today. A vision statement explains the ambition of the company and what it wants to achieve in the future. The company core values shape the culture and guide employees with decisions, behaviors and actions.

Mission, vision and values definition are:

  • A mission statement describes what the company core business is and what it does today.
  • A vision statement explains the ambition of the company and what it wants to achieve in the future.
  • The company values shape the culture and guide employees with decisions, behaviors and actions.

Guidelines applying to mission, vision and values

Mission, vision and values of a company work as a system so there should be consistent.

In addition, mission, vision and values share the following characteristics:

  • Clear, short, memorable and impactful.
  • Then, stable especially for vision.

Note that to be relevant, they should be embraced in the company at all levels especially by the management. Clearly, if it is not the case, there will be useless words, therefore will have no impact or a negative impact like cynicism.

At last, vision and mission should be stretched yet achievable.

What is a mission statement?

Definition and function of a mission statement

The mission statement of a company presents its core business, what it focuses on. To illustrate, it describes the daily activities and what the company does. At last, it tells the role of the company in the economic landscape.

The primary function of the mission statement is to drive the organization toward its goals by clarifying how to achieve them. In other words, it is the path to the destination. As such, the mission statement helps employees make the good decision and conduct the proper actions.

Also, formulate your mission statement affirmatively to have more impact with sentences starting with “We provide…” or “We offer…”

Typical questions of a mission statement

To illustrate, typical questions to structure a mission statement are about the what and the how:

  • “What do we do?”
  • “Whom do we serve?”
  • “How do we serve them?”
  • “What value are we bringing?”

What is a vision statement?

Definition and function of a vision statement

A vision statement focuses on the future: what the organization wants to become and how it wishes to impact the society and its people. To put it differently, it is the direction the company wants to go to and it acts like a beacon.

Like the mission statement, the function of the vision statement supports employees in making decisions and conducting actions. Undoubtedly, it consolidates the strategic goals of the company.

In addition, it is the purpose of the company and it stands for the why. Furthermore, it should be compelling and aspirational to be useful and it is highly loaded with emotions. To sum up, a vision statement is an idealistic emotional future. As a result, is second function is to energize and motivate employees.

Typical questions of a vision statement

To illustrate, typical questions to organize a vision statement are:

  • “What are our hopes and dreams?”
  • “What problem are we solving for the greater good?”
  • “Who and what are we inspiring to change?”

Specific guidelines for a vision statement

Along with the guidelines applying to mission statement and values, a good vision statement is:

  • Inspiring as something that employees see as desirable.
  • Challenging yet achievable.
  • Abstract enough to drive, but at the same time to leave space to adjust strategy and objectives.

Note that even if the vision statement happens in the future, it is written in the present tense to make it more real therefore impacting.

What is the difference between mission statement and vision statement?

The mission statement is about what the company does today. On the contrary, the vision statement is about what the company ambitions to achieve in the future.

What are the core values of a company?

Definition of core values

The Schwartz’s theory of basic values describes values as:

  • Connected to emotions when those values are embraced.
  • Supporting goals that motivate actions.
  • Transcending specific actions and situations unlike norms that are specific to a situation.
  • Ordered by importance.
  • Serving as guidance for employees’ decisions and actions.

In other words, values are complementary to the mission statement, going more in detail, on how the company does things. Furthermore, they add an emotional dimension that is a powerful driver.

Core values demonstrate the company culture. Surely, they act as markers of identity. Furthermore, core values channel decisions and actions as they work as a unifying force. As such, they join the mission and the vision statements to focus efforts in the same direction.

Once again, to do so, they should be espoused, embraced values. If not, they will be just words. Indeed, culture splits in 3 levels from the more visible and tangible to the last visible: artifacts, espoused values and at last, basic assumptions. And there may be gaps between expressed values and the reality on the field. For more, check my post on Organizational Culture and Leadership.

Function of core values

The function of core values plays within the company and regarding its interactions with its environment.

Within the company, the function of core values is to influence and frame:

  • Firstly, thinking.
  • Secondly, behaviors: how people interact.
  • Thirdly, actions: how people work and what they focus on at work.

Regarding the interactions of the company with its environment:

  • Customers: core values tell current and future customers about the company’s identity and about what to expect from the organization.
  • New joiners: core values are a key tool as they filter new joiners at application and selection stages. This enforces consistency and reinforces the culture over time. This is true also to retain people: they join for values and the company should demonstrate those values to keep them.

Note that sometimes core values are integrated in the mission statement. Surely, like the mission statement, the values are part of how the company does things and they happen in the present.

Some examples of Mission, Vision and Values: Google, Amazon, Apple and LinkedIn

Google

Mission:
– To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Vision:
– To provide access to the world’s information in one click.
Values:
– We want to work with great people
– Technology innovation is our lifeblood
– Be actively involved; you are Google
– Don’t take success for granted
– Do the right thing; don’t be evil
– Earn customer trust and user loyalty and respect every day
– Sustainable long-term growth and profitability are key to our success
– Google cares about and supports the communities where we work and live
Google company

Amazon

Mission:
– We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection, and the utmost convenience.
Vision:
– To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
Values:
– Customer Obsession
– Ownership
– Invent and Simplify
– Are Right, A Lot
– Learn and Be Curious
– Hire and Develop the Best
– Insist on the Highest Standards
– Think Big
– Bias for Action
– Frugality
– Earn Trust
– Dive Deep
– Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
– Deliver Results
Amazon company

Apple

Mission:
– Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Then, Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. To continue, Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.
Vision:
– We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing.
Values:
– Accessibility
– Education
– Environment
– Inclusion and Diversity
– Privacy
– Supplier Responsibility
Apple company

LinkedIn

Mission:
– To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
Vision:
– To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
Values:
– Members first.
– Relationships matter.
– Be open, honest and constructive.
– Demand excellence.
– Take intelligent risks.
– Act like an owner.
LinkedIn company

What’s next? Learn more about Change Management and discover Coaching

Do you want to learn more about Mission statement, vision statement and Company core Values? Here are some valuable references

  • Mission and vision statements:
  • Core Values:
  • Guidelines about mission statement, vision statement and core values:
  • Examples of mission statement, vision statement and core values:
    • A good post from Hotjar.
    • An interesting post from LinkedIn.
    • The last vision statement from Apple.
    • The mission statement and old vision statement of Apple.

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