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Updated on April 20, 2023.
Vision, Mission and Objectives: not the same things?
We want to be the leader in our market within 5 years.
We've all heard this statement from a business leader!
This sentence often answers the question:
What is your company's vision?
That is not a wrong answer in itself. The problem is that it answers the wrong question.
Wanting to be the leader in your market is not a vision... it's a simple goal.
To properly start this article, we will break this preconceived notion:
Wanting to be the leader in your market is not a vision at best it's a simple goal.
How to reach this goal?
Before talking about vision and mission, we need to take a step back.
Many business leaders don't understand why their employees are not motivated, or why they don't help them fully achieve the company's goals by working hard.
So, like all good humans, they look for solutions:
Hire "better" people
Have meetings in a ball pool
Buy a foosball table
In the end, they end up doing with 200 unmotivated people what they could have done with only 10 inspired people.
Why is this a reality for so many companies?
In recent years, many companies (especially start-ups) have forgotten one important thing! Growth is a tool, not an end in itself. It is an effective tool when it helps a group reach a common goal.
So they hire a lot of "senior-gizmo" to lead "junior-thingy" teams. These companies encourage them to design products and services focused on HOLY GROWTH. Product owners, and product managers will "do their job well"... entirely focused on growth.
Carry on. There are still many features to be produced!
The teams are under stress.
The new features don't provide that much additional value to the users, and end customers. The product or service becomes a pipe-dream.
Because companies forget why they exist. They forget the problem they were meant to solve. They forget that they were meant to help their users/customers.
Now they do what they do to increase their retention rate. They do what they do for the metrics. They do what they do for growth.
Every day you will hear people say: "having a vision is useless.", "it's just another bullsh*t buzzword."
That is because the essence of what a vision is, is misunderstood. Out of ignorance, many get it wrong.
In most companies, when you talk about vision, you will see this template come up:
We want to be the leader in xxx market, by the end of yyyy.
As we said above, this is a goal, not a vision.
What is a vision?
A vision is an almost tangible illustration of your brand's future.
A well-defined vision will allow you to unite your community (customers, collaborators, employees, partners, etc.) around a set of objectives to achieve.
These sets of goals are what we commonly call a mission.
Your vision represents the things your community follows you for (and why your employees should be hired).
If you are the leader of your community, your mission is to articulate that vision. Articulating this vision correctly allows everyone to achieve their shared goal together.
This dream is not about money, growth, or even market leadership. This dream is about beliefs, principles and a mission.
Having a vision is extremely powerful, but only if you know how to articulate it correctly.
Why define your mission?
Because it's cool?
Because it's trendy?
Often out of fashion or in search of business success, more and more companies wish to become mission-driven companies.
They are not wrong. Having a mission is almost the most valuable element for a brand!
The problem is that these companies don't know why.
Your mission is the why behind your company's existence. Knowing your why enables you to know what you are fighting for. That is true for you, as it is for your employees, collaborators, followers... your community.
Vision and mission.
By defining your mission and illustrating it with your vision, you will help your community fulfill their dreams... and that's what you created or joined your company in the first place!
The only two rules to follow:
Your company's mission must be incredibly well defined, as you will base your vision articulation on it.
The articulation of your brand's vision must be as palpable as possible, for that is why your community/tribe will follow you.
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