What is the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement?

This seems to be a question that torments organizations of all kinds and size.

What is the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement?

Here’s how we explain it to clients:

Your mission is what you do best every single day, and your vision is what the future will be like because you deliver on that mission so brilliantly every day.

Each one should be no more than 10 words apiece.  No long paragraphs, no lengthy missives.  Not 3 things or 5 things.

10 words for each.

Can you do it?

 

 

40 comments on “What is the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement?

  1. AnnaLou says:

    Now i understand a lot about vision and mission difference…Thank you!

    1. ‘Thanks Drew for the challenge! As they say – easier said than done – now I just need to nail it’. (Part of my Cert IV Small Business Management certification – Business Plan). Cheers Ros. Brinkley

  2. Wendy Elwell says:

    Drew,
    It is so important to know the difference between your vision and your mission. Thanks for the clarification.

    Wendy

  3. Ellai says:

    Hi Drew…I think this can help a lot of people here…Thanks a lot!

  4. Adam says:

    ThIs is the best explanation of the difference between the two that I have ever read. It’s long term vs. short term. Very important distinction!!!

    1. Thanks Adam — glad you found it helpful!

      Drew

  5. Destiny Cyrus says:

    Well a vision is what you wish to accomplish at the end of the year while the mission is what you must do every day, while doing so your vision will come true.

  6. Lloyd says:

    A vision is a mission that hasn’t become a mission yet 🙂

  7. This is a very simple but relevant explanation.
    My mission is to “Make all the members feel like family”
    My vision is to “Grow this membership to improve quality advertising for all members”

    1. Catherine,

      Almost — but state your vision as though it has already happened. Describe the future like it’s here.

      Drew

  8. Finally! I hear a lot of companies talk about their mission and vision statements, but I really have no idea what is that! This article gives me a clearer picture about the two.

    1. Rizza,

      Happy to be of service!

      Drew

  9. Chandika Ruwan says:

    Thank You very much. Now I can understand the difference.

  10. Great post Drew. I love the simplicity of what you suggest. I also believe that from the mission and then vision should come the objectives and specific strategies. All should flow from the ultimate mission to create the most effective and consistent strategies and eventual results!

    1. Dr. A says:

      I teach MBA students here in South East Asia.

      I add another point – Vision and Mission are critical to get and keep you, the owner of the business, and your employees well focused, as well as making a valuable statement to your clients and all stakeholders.

  11. Rita T says:

    well explained .The distiction is clear

    1. Thanks Rita — glad it was helpful.

      Drew

  12. Barry says:

    Thank you. I’ve been researching differing opinions on visions and missions. I appreciate your clear concise explanation.

  13. A.B Malere says:

    with this clear distinction, I will pass my interview

    Thanks and cheers

  14. Anastasia says:

    thank you well put together

  15. Bryan says:

    Brilliant
    Thankyou

  16. Amanullah says:

    There is strong correlation between two, a vision can not exist without a mission

    1. I believe that it can; I had a vision of where I want to be long before I really knew what my mission was! Also I run these as two separate processes for my clients; firstly to create the vision and then develop the mission

      1. Chris,

        In your work with your clients, what’s the time frame between creating the vision and mission statements?

        Drew

  17. chandra says:

    thank you drew sir;
    i can understand the difference clearly.

  18. Annie says:

    Thanks, this was very helpful

  19. sanjay saraf says:

    it is very helpful.

  20. Akter S. says:

    Short but very clear instruction.

  21. Nabi says:

    Also i got it now and appreciate from your clarifications

  22. Drew,
    Another great post – my mission also know as true life purpose is

    Being the best I can to help you be the best you can (13 words)

    1. Chris,

      Nice! How long did it take you to arrive at your final mission?

      Drew

      1. Drew,
        Well after a long time wondering what I am doing, it was a process I went through as part of my NLP Practitioner training which it total is about 2-3 hours and is something I am now qualified to take others through for them to develop their true life purpose/mission

        Chris

        1. Chris,

          That sounds like incredibly rewarding work! Think of the impact your efforts will have, through all of those people who can now truly honor their own purpose.

          Drew

  23. abdul rauf says:

    a vision is a broad statement as compared to mission. mission helps is to achieved the vision.

  24. Theresa Southern says:

    A lot of these Fortune 500 company mission statements are more than 10 words.

    http://www.missionstatements.com/fortune_500_mission_statements.html

    What’s your take on that?

    1. I think their employees won’t remember them, won’t live them out and won’t bring them to life for the customer.

      Drew

  25. Cecilia says:

    Hi Drew,

    You provide an explanation that is to the point and anyone can implement.

    Cecilia

  26. Yeah – right on. It’s so simple. Mission = Purpose. Vision = Future Direction. People make this way to complicated sometimes. Nice article. I’ll be back to read more.

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