How to Create a Vision Statement That Inspires

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How to Create a Vision Statement That Inspires

Posted on November 7, 2018 by Danny Leffel

Do your employees know why your business exists? Do you? If your answers are different, then you might have an organizational alignment issue. Disagreement on company objectives can change how people approach their work and the quality of the product they produce. A vision statement is the best way to align your workforce with a shared goal. But, what is a vision statement? And how do you create one?

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1. What Is a Vision Statement?

A vision statement is an organization’s ultimate purpose and goal. It’s the reason why the organization exists, and it also sets a goal for the entire company. A vision statement is a short declaration or a single sentence that establishes the foundation of a broader strategic plan.

Vision statements help focus companies’ efforts, motivate existing employees, and attract potential employees. They should advance a company’s long-term vision and facilitate the creation of core competencies. These simple statements should look to the future without losing sight of the present, be unambiguous but abstract, and never be completely attainable.

At this point, you might think that creating a vision statement is impossible or, even if you could create one for your company, it wouldn’t be useful. The truth is, vision statements are essential to some of the world’s largest brands and help them make important decisions every day.

2. Examples of Vision Statements

The following are 10 examples vision statements from some of the most recognizable brands in the world. Each one is unique, outlines the organization’s vision for the future, and avoids using any buzzwords or jargon.

  • McDonald’s – To be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience.
  • Google – To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • Harvard – To develop leaders who will one day make a global difference.
  • Starbucks – To establish Starbucks as the most recognized and respected brand in the world.
  • Amazon – To be the world’s most customer-centric company.
  • Nordstrom – To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.
  • Disney – To make people happy.
  • Netflix – Helping content creators around the world to find a global audience.
  • TED – Spread ideas.

Notice how most of those vision statements begin. Those are aspirational statements about each organization’s vision for the future. And while some were a typical sentence with one or two thoughts, TED’s vision statement is only two words: “Spread ideas.” The best vision statements are succinct while still conveying their vision.

3. The Difference Between a Vision Statement and a Mission Statement

While they are often confused with one another, a vision statement is not a mission statement. A vision statement is an aspiration; a mission statement is tactical. Mission statements consider three externalities: the market, the product, and the competition. These statements ensure the company agrees who their target audience is, their product or service specialty, and what differentiates them from their competitors.

Mission statements are about the present, whereas vision statements are about the future. Mission statements are for customers, and vision statements are for employees. Mission statements are public declarations, and vision statements are private declarations. After creating one of each for your organization, you’ll never have trouble telling the difference.

4. Why Do You Need a Vision Statement?

Organizations only succeed when every person is working toward the same goal. Of course, the daily tasks of a CEO and a shift worker are very different. However, when both individuals agree on the goal of their employer, they will approach these very different roles with the same overarching beliefs.

Consider McDonald’s. A marketing executive for McDonald’s working in their headquarters in Chicago has a different set of responsibilities than an assistant store manager in Miami. They may have completely different backgrounds and education. Despite the differences, McDonald’s vision statement, “To be the world’s best quick service restaurant experience,” ensures that both individuals approach every task the same way.

Employees that rate their company’s vision statement as highly meaningful have an average engagement rate of 68 percent. A poor rating has a corresponding engagement rate of only 16 percent. Inspiring vision statements can lead to higher work satisfaction because workers believe their company’s leaders are open, honest, and quick to respond to their concerns.

5. How Do You Create a Vision Statement?

Don’t let the average length of a vision statement trick you; they take a lot of time and effort to create. Also, don’t fall into the trap of letting upper management be responsible for the entire process of creating a vision statement. It should include stakeholders from every part of an organization. Vision statements develop over time through a series of meetings and workshops.

Since a vision statement is for employees, it doesn’t need to be self-promotional or sound like an advertisement. Furthermore, it should not be self-aggrandizing either. It should be a representation of your company’s brand and belief system. A vision statement should be a reflection of your organization’s core values and competitive advantages.

Most importantly, your vision statement should be unique. It wouldn’t help your organization to copy another’s vision statement because then you’d be following in the footsteps of a competitor or a company with different core values.

To get started, try giving honest answers to the following questions:

  • Who are we?
  • Why do we exist?
  • What makes us special?
  • Where do we want to go?
  • How do we define success?

A good vision statement follows this outline: To be something by doing something unique.

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6. What Happens Next?

The last step might be the most crucial: share your vision statement! An expertly crafted vision statement that concisely communicates your company’s shared vision for the future will do no good sitting in a folder on your CEO’s hard drive. A good start might be a company event or organizational newsletter, but that will only go so far. Share your vision statement at every opportunity and encourage management to demonstrate it whenever possible.

Group messaging for industries that don’t communicate through email is a great way to reinforce your vision statement. Crew App is great for team communication with frontline employees to foster engagement, organize team scheduling, and quickly send announcements. Effective team engagement through modern technology is the best way to ensure everyone in your organization internalizes your vision statement. Crew App makes it easy to recognize your top performing employees and those that embrace your vision statement. Find out more about Crew today!

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