These two terms have been a cause of confusion and disagreements among business people for a long time. The arguments hinge on the issue that while both may result in the same thing – the achievement of goals, the approaches vary very greatly.
In this post I’m going to go into some detail as to the distinction between Mission and Vision. Online home business owners will find the distinction very helpful in their efforts to succeed.
Management experts do not agree about many things especially when it comes to definitions. But they ultimately agree to disagree when the issue tends to boil down to the bottom line – profit.
Those who came up with leadership and management terminologies made it quite clear that they wanted to draw a distinctive line between what organizations desire to be versus what they want done to make it happen. They insist that there’s a world of difference between desire and action.
So, they came up with the term vision to define what the owners desire the organization to become, and mission to answer why the organization exists. However, it was not easy-peachy when the paradigms trickled down the corporate world. Another disagreement arose. Which comes first? Vision or mission?
Some argue that you need to have a vision first so that you know what you are trying to reach. Others argue that you need to have a purpose first before you could visualize anything. What’s even worse was that some even argue that vision is just a collective term to designate goals and objectives.
To ease up the disagreements somewhat, experts came up with a term that resulted in a marriage of all possible terminologies; organizational philosophy. But, then others wanting to be original used the term credo. This new innovation in wordplay got translated into documentary testaments that were prominently displayed in lobbies of head offices and branches. They were also recited during Monday morning musters. I personally saw a credo carved in bold letters and mounted on a mobile stand in the lobby of a bank.
THEY WILL WORK IF
Did this practice actually work? The bottom line would probably tell the whole story. However, research does show that companies that put diligent effort into crafting good mission statements have greater chance of success, and have 30% higher ROI. They are also reportedly recognized for superior quality.
But, the real truth is, if you go into an enterprise without knowing why you are doing it, you are bound to fail. It’s like cooking. You have all these ingredients and you put them all together according to the recipe. You know the purpose of each ingredient that you put into the dish as you cook. If you don’t, and you just pick anything you want, you won’t be able to eat your dish.
Business terms are just words. They are important, but only to the extent that you understand what you put into them to flesh out your intentions. Does it really matter what name you use to call them? What matters most is that deep inside you know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Yes, it is important to put your intentions into words so you could look at them and be reminded of what you set out to do.
PASSION FOR THEIR BUSINESS
I’ve heard of successful entrepreneurs, in an era of unwritten testaments, who said that when they went into business they knew exactly what they were doing and why they were doing it. Some simply called it “my way of doing business,” others called it “my business path, others called it “the thinking man’s way.”
But, when the day came when they have to have it written down (common practice in the 1980’s) for the benefit of the whole organization, they know exactly what to say. All along, their whys were already deep down inside them.
Peter Drucker a well-known management guru defined mission as that which “says why you do what you do, not the means by which you do it”. As regards vision here’s what Professor Rich Horwath, President of Strategic Thinking Institute has to say- “vision provides a mental picture of the aspirational existence that an organization is working toward.”(Discovering Purpose: Developing Mission, Vision and Values: copyright 2015; extracted May 2, 2018; 4:17 PM.)
What Dr. Drucker meant when he said –“not the means by which you do it,” was that we should not confuse mission with strategies. George Steiner, American Critic and polymath once said that, “strategies tell you how to get to where you want to go.” These statements from a management expert and a polyglot are just reminders for us not to get confused with terminologies.
STATEMENTS OF BUSINESS INTENTS SHOULD ENGAGE
One thing I noticed with many of the actual mission statements I saw was that they were lengthy. And if you are a casual visitor to the office, you need to spend time to read through all the protocols spelled out in the statement. Personally, I think this defeats the purpose of a statement intended to be indelibly etched in the consciousness of those who read it. Clients would naturally want to know something about the organization they are dealing with. How much of what anyone could read in a short span of time could he absorb? He will simply experience information overload.
Management experts maintain that the statements of intentions and purposes should be concisely worded and should engage the imagination of those who read it. Others claim it should not be more than eight words. Some say mission statements should be short enough to get printed in a bumper sticker, or on a T-shirt.
So, now comes one of the greatest challenges of your enterprise; to define your mission and come up with a mission statement. It is indeed quite a challenge to come up with a mission statement that contains all the elements of a well-crafted one. Considering that it should be brief and not wordy and long- winded, demands all your attention and focus. But, if you do your homework well and painstakingly you will definitely come up with one. Just dig deep inside yourself. Within you are the exact words to write because deep within you are the values that answer your WHY? Answering you WHY could spell the difference between having the best home business online or just so-so.