A mission statement reflects the fundamental purpose for the existence of an organization. On the other hand, a vision statement complements and enhances an organization’s mission statement. This paper looks at five criteria that are crucial to devising good mission statements.
Criteria for writing a mission statement
It is important to realize that a mission statement is the soul of any organization (Maynard, 2010). It should articulate the purposes and principles of an organization. A good mission statement can be devised using the following criteria.
A mission statement needs to be succinct. This ensures that the statement conveys the purposes and goals of organizations. This criterion also ensures that employees, clients, and other stakeholders are told how their organizations can achieve goals (Smith, 2013). It also ensures good communication at all levels of organizations.
A mission statement should be short and snappy. It needs to be simple, clear, and concise to avoid vagueness or dilution of the overall meaning. The essence of the company is captured in a few words that can be carried in the simplest way possible (Smith, 2013). It should distill the values, goals, and characters of a company, in a few sentences.
People need to remember the key elements of a mission statement. This is important in enabling employees to understand the basic values and goals of their company (Smith, 2013). Furthermore, it makes employees creative and innovative.
The importance of this criterion is to ensure that achievable purposes of a company are developed. It helps people know what they can achieve and how they can do it. This criterion helps managers create realistic and achievable purposes that employees can attain (Smith, 2013).
This criterion is vital in enabling mission statements to be embraced by all the people within an organization (Smith, 2013). Mission statements should be acceptable at all levels. This implies that employees from low to top management should be involved. The objective of this criterion is to allow employees to own a mission statement, and hence strengthen it.
Criteria for writing a vision statement
A vision statement determines how a company puts together ideas and solutions to achieve its purposes and goals. It provides a future picture of areas to which a company should direct its strategies and objectives. The following is the criteria for writing a good vision statement for a company.
The benefit of making a vision statement inspiring is to challenge, inspire, and insinuate the management and employees of an organization (JISC Infonet, 2012). This enables people to be part of the cause or actions that lead to achieving good vision statements. The strong words used in vision statements focus on influencing the attention of individuals.
A vision statement should have a realism sense in it (JISC Infonet, 2012). Employees need to believe that what the vision statement envisages is achievable. This enables employees to buy-in the vision of a company.
Vision statements should be short, precise, and to point (JISC Infonet, 2012). Clarity of the vision statement eliminates the risk of diluting a message intended to be passed to the entire organization. A clear vision statement also unites organizations and provides them with transcendent goals.
A vision statement should be written after considering the existing gaps in an industry. Creativity helps a company’s vision statement to stand out from the rest (JISC Infonet, 2012).
The continuity element between a mission and vision statement should be present when writing vision statements (JISC Infonet, 2012). However, it should not be restricted by the existing remit of the mission of a company. This can ensure that the mission and vision statements are coherent.
Comparison of the mission and vision criteria
Both statements employ the ‘realistic’ criterion. The underlying sense of these statements is realism, which enables employees to be inspired by these statements. Second, the employees of an organization buy-in both statements. This ensures that the mission and vision statements are embraced at different levels in the organization. Third, both criteria should be clear, accurate, and understandable at all levels in the organization. This ensures that the statements are distilled among all concerned individuals, so as to inspire achievements of purposes, goals, and values of a company.
However, there are differences of the criteria in the two statements. First, vision statements are consistent with the mission statements of a company and the feedbacks ofpeople within it. On the other hand, a mission statement is not dependent on the vision statement, but only relies on buy-in of employees. Second, mission statements have arbitrary length limits. However, a vision statement has no limits because it is supposed to get the vision across all units in an organization.
The mission and vision statements are the main strategic anchors for most companies. The success of a company is determined by the appropriateness of these statements. Therefore, appropriate criteria should be followed to enable adequate communication of these statements in an organization.
JISC Infonet. (2012). What makes a good vision statement? Web.
Maynard, W. (2010). Your company mission statement is the soul of your brand. The Kenesis blog. Web.
Smith, E. (2013). Five Criteria for a Mission Statement. Houston Chronicle. Web.