The Importance of Mission and Vision

The mission and vision of an organization are its lifeline to sustainability. They establish its purpose of being today and aspiration of tomorrow. A clear mission offers organizations a pragmatic lens for every day decision-making. Why they exist today. A clear vision outlines the organizations ambition for the future. What they aspire to be. Mission and vision offer distinct perspectives, but they’re interrelated in a sense that they both drive an organization to express a singular purpose.

Articulating a clear mission and vision comes with many challenges. Most people don’t know what these terms mean in the context of business. They don’t understand how they’re distinguished and related. Many organizations don’t have the wherewithal to navigate through the process (formal or informal) of focusing on clarifying its purpose. Organizations such as these lack the leadership required to build a sustainable business model that can adapt to the demands and constant change of our culture.

Many organizations have overcome these challenges. However, I believe overcoming these challenges is the exception, not the norm. It takes a truly remarkable organization such as Google, Zappos.com or Behance to succinctly convey its purpose. This probably explains why it was easy to find their mission statements online.

What is your organization’s mission and vision? If you don’t know, ask. If you don’t have one, ask why. It’s fair to ask your boss what she thinks the purpose of your job is. And it’s more than fair to rally those around you to help. Professionally, of course. There are many ways to do this. Get your MBA and you’ll learn about 25 different ways. But you don’t need to spend 4 years of your life and $120,000 to get the conversation started. Simply ask people around your office these two following questions:

Why do we exist today?

What do we aspire to be in the future?

Keep in mind that these questions should be answered from a customer’s perspective. They will not be easy to answer, but it will at least initiate a productive conversation. You can then take your findings to your boss and she’ll be impressed. At the very least, you’ll have earned the right to continue forthright conversations with her about the strategic decisions being made throughout your organization.