A mission statement aids to guide and provide direction to an organization by means of shaping values and purpose. It is essential that mission statements are effective so that they orient suppliers, customers and relevant stakeholders (Coleman, 2013). The most important person responsible for developing a strong mission is the leader as he or she would be solely responsible for developing an excellent mission statement.
Attainable - One of the main criteria for developing excellent mission statement is that it must be attainable or workable. It should not just entail fatheaded jargons which does not provide the company with any purpose or help in devising values which may align with the mission statement. A strong mission statement helps employees to frame larger objectives and also to distinguish between what an employee does and what can be done by an employee.
Informative - The ultimate objective of the firm should be conveyed by a mission statement and hence one of the essential criteria is that a mission statement should be informative. The essence of the company should be spelt out by a mission statement. It thus aids to attain a balance in developing clarity of purpose and inspiring the employees and relevant stakeholders.
Clear - The mission statement should not comprise of fatheaded jargons and should in fact be clear, concise and simple. It should spell the objectives, character and values of a company in a sentence of two. This may be effectively attained after a lot of discussion and thought.
Memorable - An effective mission statement is memorable and helps staff to remember. Using descriptive words inspiring action helps to form a strong mission statement. One of the basic formats to devise effective mission statement is “verb, target outcome” (Hellweg, 2010).
Employee feedback and suggestions - The last criteria is that the process of developing a mission statement should take into account the feedback and suggestions of all employees from the top level to the lowest level. However, the feedbacks should be seriously taken and accordingly the mission statement should be developed. This will help to develop a sense of belongingness with the company and also aid to devise a strong mission statement.
A vision statement, on the other hand, helps to spell out high level objectives and should be in sync with the objectives of the founder. In other words, the vision statement provides the ultimate dream of the business, in terms of manpower, growth, societal contributions, values and so on. The five effective criteria of a vision statement are as follows:
- Inspirational - A vision statement should enthuse, inspire and challenge.
- Ambitious - It should be highly ambitious if the founder wants to company to be one among the leading firms in the world.
- Practical - However, in developing an ambitious vision statement, one must keep in mind that the vision statement should be realistic and practical. It is essential that individuals understand that the dream is attainable so that they believe in the vision of the company. Without attainable vision statements, it may be difficult to orient the relevant stakeholders involved in a company.
- Clarity – A vision statement should be clear and should use uncluttered language, be precise and to the point thereby evading unnecessary jargons. This is essential to prevent the dilution of losing the core message due to complicated statements.
- Continuity – One of the main criteria of a vision statement is that it should be developed so as to be aligned with the further objectives and values constituting a mission statement. However, the vision statement should not be limited by the transmission of the mission statement.
However, it is essential that both should be aligned with current situations. A vision statement should be challenging and inspirational and help in devising strong but attainable ambitions. On the other hand a mission statement should provide definite direction and at the same time help individuals to conduct ambitious and challenging tasks to meet predetermined objectives. The mission statement aids to provide the essence of the purpose and the existence of the company and not a future vision as is provided by the vision statement. Both mission and vision statements should evade unnecessary jargons as they complicate and dilute the purpose of such statements. However, strong mission and vision statements help in inspiring and helping all concerned parties to remember and thereby formulate and implement goals accordingly.
Mission and vision statement are the fundamentals of a successful business culture. They help in providing direction to the company by specifying broad objectives and establishing values. In fact, mission and vision statements are the strong tenets of an effective corporate culture as they both are graspable, attainable and inspirable at the same time (Welsh & Welsh, 2008). One of the most important aspects of a firm is to establish values that are in sync with the mission and vision statements. Such values should drive action and inspire employees to excel in performance.
Coleman, J. (2013). Six components of a great corporate culture. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved January 06, 2014 from http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/05/six-components-of-culture/
Hellweg, E. (2010). The eight-word mission statement. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved January 06, 2014 from http://blogs.hbr.org/2010/10/the-eight-word-mission-stateme/
Welsh, J. & Welsh, S. (2008). State your business. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved January 06, 2014 from http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2008-01-02/state-your-business