Creating Useful Vision and Mission Statements

Posted by David Grossman on Tue, Jul 24, 2018


Why can having a clear vision be so fuzzy? 

A common question we hear from leaders is what’s the real difference between a vision and mission statement?

It’s funny how often the staples in an organization are the very same elements that can cause so much confusion. I continue to regularly see strategy maps and well-intentioned executives create unintended confusion because they mix the terminology and/or create statements that aren’t helpful to employees in answering key questions: what’s our purpose, and to what do we aspire?

First and foremost, kudos to any company or leadership team for wanting to get it right because done well, having both a distinct vision and mission is an important tool to set the right course for an organization and to ensure employees are on the same path. Plus, effective vision statements also can be hugely inspiring to employees who see the future and want to help you get “there.” 

Today, we’ll set the record straight on which is which: 


  • Answers the question: “What do we want to become?”
  • Paints a picture of where the organization wants to go
  • Looks to the future
  • Is about dreams and hopes
  • Doesn’t talk about how things get done


  • Answers the question: “Why do we exist?”
  • Describes the purpose of the organization
  • Looks at today
  • Is about the business the organization is in
  • Might describe capabilities, customer focus

All easier said than done, but well worth the effort.

How does your mission and vision stand up to these definitions?

—David Grossman

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Tags: Leadership Effectiveness & Planning