Dr. Pero Mićić
Actually, the difference between mission and vision is quite simple. They are very clearly definable and defined terms. Actually. And yet very many companies get it wrong, and even the large and supposedly very professional companies. So what is the difference between mission and vision?
Examples: Not a mission! Not a vision!
On its website, Audi cites the following statement as its mission: Consistently Audi. In German, they call it Konsequent Audi.
Sorry, this is not a mission!
Audi’s vision is: Unleash the beauty of sustainable mobility. They call it that on the German website as well. And again, that contradicts the definition used by most experts. It’s not a vision. Funnily enough, it’s more like a mission. The verb “unleash” already hints at it.
If you apply to Ford and ask what Ford’s mission and vision is, you will get the following answer.
One team, one plan, one goal. One Ford is FMC’s mission and vision.
Such a thing is beyond my comprehension. On a very basic level, that’s one of the reasons why I don’t see a good future for Ford and wouldn’t buy stock. It is not a mission, nor is it a vision. It is extremely ignorant to try to cover two completely different concepts with a single statement.
At IKEA you can read: Our Vision: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
I’m sorry, but that’s not a vision either. It is a mission.
Difference between mission and vision: clarity through clear definitions
You might say that it doesn’t matter how you define mission and vision. The main thing is that there are statements about the strategy.
I think this is dangerous and expensive. Then we could also say that it doesn’t matter whether we call something a task or a goal.
No, when you call the task a goal and the goal a task, you confuse people. They then work less motivated, less goal-oriented, less consistently.
A clear mission and vision should provide orientation, give direction and offer meaning. And for that, we need clear definitions and an undoubted common understanding within the company.
We have today, which is the present, and we have the future that lies ahead.
A mission is the impact promise that a company permanently fulfills for its customers.
It applies today and until we change it. It drives us and it guides us.
Examples of a mission well done in terms of expertise and content
At HubSpot, they say: Our mission is to make the world INBOUND. Inbound means that marketing is no longer outbound acting as a loudspeaker and sales is no longer pressuring customers. But that you make yourself so interesting and attractive to customers that they come of their own accord. Inbound, from the outside in.
TESLA’s mission is: Accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport and energy. A great task, which in principle they have already fulfilled.
SpaceX’s mission is: To make humankind a multiplanetary species. The peculiarity is that from this mission you can also derive the vision. It is not the same, it is not in a statement, but the ‘multiplanetary species’ is then the vision to achieve.
These are three examples of a mission that is well crafted in terms of both expertise and content. In our Future Strategy Program, we work with our clients time and again to develop just that: a truly future-robust mission and a motivating vision
The vision, in contrast to the mission, is a concrete picture of a fascinating, jointly aspired and realizable future of a person or a company. It is always in the future and its realization is a positive challenge.
Examples of a vision that is well done in terms of expertise and content
Amazon’s vision is: Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company.
Microsoft’s earlier vision was: A personal computer in every home running Microsoft software.
Southwest Airlines’ vision: To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.
Difference between mission and vision in comparison
Importantly, you should not derive your mission from your vision. The mission is not just to fulfill your vision. The mission comes first because it defines your company. Therefore, develop your vision from your mission.
It is still important to know that a mission and a vision should never consist of only the one sentence. It must be well explained and justified underneath. I summarized this and 18 other mistakes in my paper, “Your Vision is Weak.” Of course, in it I also explain how you can do it better. Click here to download!
Examine your own mission and vision now. The one for your life or that of your company.
Make sure you don’t confuse your colleagues and employees and end up doing the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. Give your employees clear direction on the two key questions:
Mission: What are we here for?
Vision: Where do we want to go?
Follow these links as well:
Have a bright future!