The new year is right around the corner, so naturally minds are turning toward revisiting strategic plans and setting yearly goals. Such conversations often involve revisiting and re-casting the company’s Vision and Mission. At Lodestone, we love to be part of and support those conversations. However, in our experience, we find that these two items are often confused. So, this blog is about providing some tips on creating a compelling Vision and Mission, and importantly, knowing which is which.

A wise organizational development professional taught me years ago to “remember Jesus.” He wasn’t proselytizing; he was using the distinction between Jesus and His disciples/missionaries to illustrate the relationship between a company’s vision and mission. Jesus was the visionary. Jesus cast the vision which was simple yet huge: Go and take the gospel to all the ends of the earth. He didn’t say how. He didn’t say by when. He didn’t lay out a long execution plan. The mission—what missionaries do—is something concrete, tangible, and measurable.

In other words, your company vision should be huge, bold, aspirational, yet also short and simple whereas your mission should make it clear what people do to realize that vision. In this way, the company mission, rooted in the company’s vision, guides and directs behaviors which are time-bound and measurable.

Here is a bit of practice for you…

· At Lodestone, we aspire to “be the trusted, front-of-mind sherpa guiding values-aligned clients safely through the human capital science portion of their growth journey.” If you guessed that is our vision, you are right!

· How about “prayerfully help leaders start and strengthen churches to advance the gospel together in their city”—vision or mission? This is the Redeemer City to City mission statement.

· Another… “Have long-term, ongoing relationships where we are the first and only Human Capital Science thought with 10 PE firms and revenue of $XXM/Year by EOY2024”—that’s our mission here at Lodestone!

· Last one… “to provide access to the world’s information in one click.” This is Google’s vision statement.

None of these are simple or easy to create. If your company’s vision and mission statements were created on the fly, please give us a call. Vision and mission statements should not be a check in the box—they should be central to all your company embodies and executes. Neither should be created quickly, nor by only one leader. An executive team needs to have a thorough, thoughtful discussion, adding ideas then subtracting ideas, and then and only then, wordsmith for the impactful final statement. The value and importance are in the process, not just in the outcome.

Before you dismiss vision and mission statements as mere words, remember that “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” (Lewis Carroll).

About the author : Sandy Fiaschetti, Ph.D