Vision statements can help companies maintain their focus on goals and increase employees’ and stakeholders’ sense of shared purpose and values. If you’re drafting a vision statement, it’s helpful to make sure it incorporates the organization’s most important mission and guiding principles. In this article, we discuss what vision statements are and tell you how to create one that clearly defines your business’ aim.
What is a vision statement?
A vision statement is a declaration of an organization’s objectives. This statement can serve as a guide for the business, indicating a defined direction for growth and goals. As a company grows, its vision statement may change slightly to adapt to differing needs, but the main idea typically remains the same. Formal company documents—such as employee handbooks—usually contain the vision statement. However, some organizations advertise their statement on their website and other public platforms.
A vision statement should motivate the organization’s employees and outline its ultimate goals. While a mission statement concentrates on what a company can provide for its customers, a vision statement is more self-focused, outlining the goals of the business for growth and success.
Consider the vision statement as an umbrella description of what is important to the company and how it helps to improve the world around it. This includes not only customers but potential employees as well. When the vision statement is able to connect to our inner values, it can be easy to admire that organization and support it in a variety of ways. We consider this a powerful communication tool in such a short statement.
An effective vision statement should be:
- Clear to understand the organization’s mission
- Aware of challenges
- Relevant to a variety of audiences
- Authentic to the organization
- Unique from competitors
Drafting a motivational vision statement is an important step in identifying the goals of a business and how members of the organization can work toward accomplishing those objectives. It may be difficult to narrow multiple objectives into one-to-two sentences so it’s important to really explore the strategy, products and services of the organization. It may require a marketing perspective or even a copywriter to help edit a larger plan or statement document.
Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples
Why is a vision statement important?
A vision statement is important to a company because it serves as a strategic plan for success. It can act as a guide when employees encounter challenges. Vision statements also help motivate employees to work toward shared goals. Investors and others who show interest in the business may also rely on the vision statement to better understand the purpose of the organization.
With a strong vision statement in place, a company can attract, engage and retain skilled team members. Hardworking, dedicated and motivated employees may be more likely to work for a company that has strong values and objectives. It’s important to engage team members in their work to help them stay motivated. Relating a vision statement to individual goals can show an employee that they share a common purpose.
A vision statement can also help a business identify its organizational culture. Building a strong organizational culture is vital to a company’s long-term success. It’s also important to continue to reference the vision statement to show that the company is committed to that culture.
Related: Your Guide To Visionary Leadership
How to craft a business vision statement
If your employer assigns the creation of a vision statement to you and your team, it’s helpful to follow these steps to craft a motivational and inspiring option:
1. Identify the organization’s goals
Long-term goals for growth are important to consider, as are short-term goals for ensuring everyday success. As you consider the goals, think about the strategy it will take to achieve them as well. Although you don’t need to include the steps in your vision statement, having a guide will help make the goals more achievable.
2. Outline the values
Every organization has values. For example, the values of a health insurance company could focus on improving the relationship between its customers and their healthcare needs. Before you can fully outline a vision statement, it’s important to know the values of the organization, which will ultimately align with the company’s goals.
3. Make it simple
Your vision statement should be clear, concise and easy for anyone to understand. It should be one or two short sentences. This is where it can be challenging to fit in all the necessary information into one-to-two sentences. You may find yourself writing many details out and working to refine and consolidate to reach the final version.
4. Think ahead
Consider the trajectory of your industry so your statement will remain relevant in the future. Make sure it aligns with your company’s long-term goals as well. It’s okay that you cannot predict the future. However, it can be good to think strategically about how this vision statement can hold true even with natural changes in the economy, the organization or business and its’ customers.
5. Establish a timeline
Since a vision statement serves as a guide for an organization’s success, it’s helpful to add time frames to each component. Consider when you expect the business to meet certain milestones and achieve the goals you’re outlining in the statement.
Related: How To Get Motivated at Work
Vision statement examples
Although a mission statement will depend on the industry, goals and needs of the organization, these examples will give you a sense of how to craft a simple statement:
- Animal conservation organization: Connect individuals to conservation efforts, and inspire all people to get involved.
- Educational organization: The mission of The University of Texas at Austin is to achieve excellence in the interrelated areas of undergraduate education, graduate education, research and public service.
- Hotel chain: Delivering comfort and hospitality wherever you travel.
Reviewing company vision statements
When looking for a new job, reviewing companies’ vision statements can help refine your search. Learning about a company’s vision statement can help you determine whether their goals align with your values. When a vision statement is relatable, you are more likely to feel passionate about your work and contribute positively in a way that benefits both you and the company.
For example, you may have a strong belief in the importance of providing high-quality education to children of all socioeconomic backgrounds. During your job search, you find a company with a vision statement that involves offering educational opportunities to potentially underserved communities. Since its goal and your values match, you may find working there a fulfilling experience.
During the interview process, you can also impress potential employers by referring to the vision statement and why it’s meaningful to you. If an interviewer asks you why you want to work for their business, you can mention the vision statement and how it relates to your career goals. Making that connection could increase your chances of receiving a job offer.