How to write a vision statement
September 24, 2020

How to Write a Vision Statement?

By Brian McHale

There is nothing that can explain your company’s goals better than your vision statement.

No matter what you’re doing, be that a project or a regular workplace effort, you need this statement to truly understand the direction you should take.

In this article, we’re going to explain how you can use these statements, as well as provide you with examples of best vision statements.

Let’s take a look!

 

What Is a Vision Statement?

There are very few people who haven’t heard of vision statements.

However, we often confuse them with other organizational documents.

In short, it is really just a statement that describes an organization’s goals.

Simple ones are often phrased as vague directions.

However, the best vision statements meet the SMART criteria (they’re specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound), and serve as road maps to companies’ goals.

A vision statement also aligns with an organization’s philosophy.

Ultimately, it serves as a practical document that managers within the organization can reference when making decisions.

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What Is the Difference Between Mission and Vision Statements?

Mission statements focus on what the organization is currently doing.

Often, they include aspects such as descriptions of products, target audience, and short-term goals.

“We do X because Y.”

However, vision statements are the ideal that organizations strive to achieve in the long term.

They look at an organization’s plan from a macro point of view.

Instead of thinking about hiring, mission statements think about perfect candidates.

Instead of improving current products, mission statements focus on creating the best possible products to serve current and future needs.

As such, vision statements are a great way to ensure that new organizational efforts contribute to the outlined goals.

For example, you may be working on a reorganization project within your company because the company’s mission is to become a market leader within the next five years.

Compelling Directive

Source: Organization Design Studio

 

Why Are Vision Statements Important?

They are important because, when created properly, they are strategic plans.

On a micro level, they provide decision-making guidance to everyone within the company.

These statements also motivate employees to work harder and smarter because they provide them with purpose.

Think about all the times you’ve wondered: “What’s the point of this project? What’s the point of everything I’m doing at work?

If your company had a vision statement (and not only wrote it, but lived it), you wouldn’t be asking yourself that.

Similarly, employees in companies that follow through on their vision statements and use them to reach a bright future, are more motivated.

Vision statements also allow organizations to simultaneously improve the three most important aspects: products, culture, and individuals.

Since vision statements are strongly influenced by values, they allow companies to put their beliefs into practice in a cohesive way.

Finally, vision statements turn into guidelines for project management.

You can easily explain the importance of your project once you demonstrate how it aligns with the company’s direction.

All in all, vision statements allow organizations to reach the future in a planned way, instead of simply hoping for the best.

 

How to Write a Great Vision Statement

A great vision statement is a living, breathing thing that changes with the company and its people.

And no matter your formal job description, you may be tasked with writing it.

Here’s how to do it right:

 

Ask the Right Questions

It’s important to start things off on the right note by asking the following questions:

  • What are our organization’s hopes and dreams?
  • Which problem are we solving for the greater good?
  • Who and what are we inspiring to change?
  • Where does our organization want to be in 5-10 years?
  • What do we want to accomplish?
  • Why do we want to accomplish it?

Once you understand the foundations of your organization, it becomes much easier to create a comprehensive document.

 

Set SMART Goals

We talk about SMART goals a lot, but the truth is that it’s much easier to achieve your goals once you know what they are.

Instead of just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, SMART goals turn your vision into proactive materials.

Your goals should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound.

For example, “We want to offer healthier food to the world” is a very vague vision statement.

However, “We will make sure that every child has access to healthy food within the next ten years” sounds much, much better.

The more specific you are, the easier it will be for your company to choose the right initiatives that contribute to long-term goals.

 

Best Vision Statements Inspire

When your vision inspires, you can motivate individuals.

From team members and top management, to external stakeholders and general public, your vision statement should give all relevant parties something to look up and forward to.

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Know Your Audience

Before creating your vision statement, you should know who the target audience is.

For example, a statement for general public should primarily be inspiring.

But a statement for internal decision-making should be as specific as possible.

 

Make Your Vision Statement Memorable

Finally, it’s important to make this statement memorable.

If it is, everyone will remember it; from customers who will know you have their best interests at heart, to employees who will know why they’re doing what they’re doing.

It’s a win-win!

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Examples of Best Vision Statements

Patagonia

Patagonia

Patagonia’s vision statement is verbose, but it does the trick numerous businesses – including SaaS companies – can use:

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”

With just a few lines, Patagonia manage to highlight the values they share with their customers.

This vision statement works perfectly for both internal decision making and customer communication.

 

Invision

Invision

Invision’s vision statement isn’t traditional. Instead of explaining their vision, they focus on what needs to be done for that vision to come true:

Question Assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everywhere. Integrity.”

It’s a great example that companies can learn from.

By emphasizing the most important things that guide their thinking, Invision inspire their customers and employees.

Often, companies believe that it’s enough to focus on the things their service does for their customers.

 

Workday

Workday

Enterprise resource planning isn’t really a niche we’d call people-oriented. Workday know it, which is exactly why their vision statement emphasizes the new direction they plan on taking:

To put people at the center of enterprise software.”

Workday’s vision statement example is perfect for software companies that want to show how much they care about the people who using their tools.

 

Prezi

Prezi

Software is more than a tool composed of algorithms and code.

It influences and inspires, and the same should go for your vision statement if you’re in the SaaS industry.

To reinvent how people share knowledge, tell stories, and inspire their audiences to act.”

By shifting the focus from their tool and towards people and storytelling, Prezi humanize their vision and their software.

 

AirBnB

AirB&B

Finally, AirBnB uses their vision statement to connect with their customers by stating that they are:

Tapping into the universal human yearning to belong—the desire to feel welcomed, respected, and appreciated for who you are, no matter where you might be.”

It’s a perfect example of how words change worlds.

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