Friday, May 11, 2007

What is vision statement of a company?

Q. . . . . and how it is different from mission statement?

A
. For a company, a vision is a description of its possible future(s) based upon the primary values of its business and the values believed to be important for its stakeholders in the future. A vision can take the form of statements, illustrations and stories, whatever stimulates the imagination and appeals to those involved. Through communication and feedback it is constantly tested and clarified. A powerful, well communicated vision attracts people to contribute in its realization when the expressed values resonate with their own.

A company's mission statement describes what the company must accomplish in order to realize its vision. It tends to be more objective and factual. The vision and mission are tools of leadership, to attract people and to focus their energy.

Here's a non-business example chosen because it is so very visible.

The Bush administration expressed many quite different, changing visions for Iraq: WMD-free, US style democracy, model democracy for the Middle East, terror-free zone, and so on. These visions were all bankrupt because they did not represent the values of the key stakeholders like Iraq and its neighbors and now, the American people. Without a robust vision, the mission has constantly changed. The Iraqi people, the US military, US allies have all been confused with each refocus. After all this, the emerging and rarely stated vision is a United States unencumbered by responsibility for resolving internal Iraqi conflicts. This vision is manifested in the emerging mission of withdrawal.

Here is another non-business example, chosen because of its simplicity.

Nicholas Negraponte of MIT Media Lab and his colleagues had the vision of "a computer for every child." The governments of several developing countries are considering supporting this vision and Negraponte is now close to accomplishing his mission to develop a computer that can be delivered for around $100.


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