Difference between Vision and Mission

Difference between Vision and Mission, Mission vs Vision, Vision vs Mission

Vision and mission are two terms often used in business. Vision is focused on the future (tomorrow) and what the organization aspirationally wants to become. Mission is focused on the present (today) and what the organization does – its core competency. Unfortunately, both terms are often used by leaders interchangeably or misunderstood by people altogether. The goal of this post is to provide a basic overview of both vision and mission, as well as examples of each from three well-known, highly-innovative Seattle-based companies.

What is Vision?

Vision is focused on the future (tomorrow) and what the organization aspirationally wants to become. Vision answers the question, “What will the future look like when the organization fulfills its mission?” Clarifying vision questions can include: What problems are we solving for the greater good? What are we inspiring to change? Who are we inspiring to change?  Vision helps people focus on what matters most because they know what success means for the organization. Effective vision statements both challenge and inspire people.

Vision Examples

  • Amazon – To be earth’s most customer-centric company.
  • Costco – To be a place where efficient buying and operating give members access to unmatched savings.
  • Starbucks – To be the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our principles.

What is Mission?

Mission is focused on the present (today) and what the organization does – that is, the organization’s core competency. Mission answers the question, “Why do we exist?” Clarifying mission questions can include: What do we do? Whom do we serve? How do we serve them, including the benefit? Effective mission statements motivate people to advance toward common goals and objectives. They also support the vision and serve to communicate both direction and purpose to people.

Mission Examples

  • Amazon – To offer customers the lowest possible prices, best available selection and utmost convenience.
  • Costco – To continually provide our members with quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices.
  • Starbucks – To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time

In summary: Vision is focused on the future and what the organization aspirationally wants to become. Vision helps people focus on what matters because success has been defined. Mission is focused on the present and what the organization does. Mission motivates people to advance toward common goals and objectives. Research conducted by Bain and Company found that organizations with clear visions and missions effectively aligned with strong strategic plans and operational execution significantly outperformed similar organizations without them.

All contents copyright © 2018, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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