Back on the planning road once more, and here for part two…. let’s talk this time about missions! I don’t mean the Tom Cruise ‘Impossible’ kind, or the evangelical kind, but the what for and why of the work you or your organisation does. If you have your vision, which gives you a picture of where you want to be in the future, you will probably also need a mission, or a mission statement.
Your mission is your purpose, your point. Have you ever heard someone ask “what’s the point” ? Well, if this was asked in a professional capacity, the answer could very well be outlined in your mission. It spells out why you are doing what you are doing. It outlines what you want to achieve and who will benefit. It is the route to achieving your vision (although not necessarily in a space rocket).
Your mission can be quite broad, but succinct, and doesn’t need to outline the steps or specific goals (that comes later). Your mission defines your overarching function.
Some examples of mission statements are:
Halo Trust – Getting mines out of the ground, for good.
VSO – To bring people together to fight poverty.
Atkins (engineering firm)- We exist to plan, design and enable capital programmes.
BBC – To enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.
These are all quite catchy and tell you concisely why they are there. I chose these because they also have corresponding visions:
Halo Trust – A world free from mines and clear of the dangerous debris of war.
VSO – A world without poverty.
Atkins – To be the world’s best infrastructure consultancy.
BBC – To be the most creative organisation in the world.
When you look at the two together, it is far clearer. So, spot the difference. What are the main ways in which the mission statement is different from a vision statement?