There appears to be a lot of confusion about what is a vision statement
and a mission statement.  Some writers make no differentiation
between the two, while some go into great lengths to describe the
difference, while still not coming up with anything of real value to
someone who wants to create a meaningful mission statement for their
business.  In reality, it is fairly obvious and straightforward,
if you base your proposition of proven success models, rather than
academic theory.

In their classic book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary
Companies, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras identified a pattern in 18
extremely successful organisations that they believed created the
difference in the level of success between these companyies and other
similar companies that were not able to achieve the excellence and high
achievements of the 18 visionary companies.  The main factor
in their success, according to Collins and Porras, was that these
companies all exhibited an almost cult-like  commitment to a
“core ideology.  The study showed that, even more important that
having a strategic plan, it was critical to build plans and strategies around
a set of core values and the purpose the company stood for.

In essence, the vision is future looking; what will the company become? The values represents the ideals and principles the company believes in and operates by; what does the company stand for?  The mission describes the present aspirations of the company; what do we do, who do we do it for, how well do we want to do it?

An interesting aside from Built to Last is that none of the mission
statements for the highly successful, visionary company’s mentioned
anything about shareholder value or aspirations for increasing
profits.  These mission statements were all about creating value for their customers and were inspirational messages to management and employees that gave focus to
their day to day actions.
  Mission statements should
incorporate an aspirational goal that is a stretch to achieve, but not
impossible.  This identifies a way to outshine your competition
and provide exceptional value to your customers at the same time, while
also providing wholesome motivation to employees who feel that
achieving such as mission is a worthwhile endeavour and participating
in achieving that goal adds value to their own lives.

A mission statement, if created out of the purpose and values of the
organisation, can be a valuable contribution to the success of the
organisation. Here are some examples of inspiring, successful mission


At Microsoft, we work to help people and businesses throughout the
world realize their full potential. This is our mission. Everything we
do reflects this mission and the values that make it possible.


People love our clothes and trust our company. We will market the most
appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world. We will clothe
the world.


We fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing
to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of
motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market

The Chubb

We are dedicated to providing excellent underwriting and loss control
advice up front, and to ensuring superior customer service through the
life of the policy. Our knowledgeable loss prevention experts can help
commercial customers reduce losses in the workplace. Our personal
appraisers are invaluable in determining accurate replacement value,
which is more likely to provide you with the right amount of coverage
for your valuable property.


Our goal for Citigroup is to be the most respected global financial
services company. Like any other public company, we’re obligated to
deliver profits and growth to our shareholders. Of equal importance is
to deliver those profits and generate growth responsibly.


To be the best worldwide provider of higher-value staffing services and
the center for quality employment opportunities.


To Bring Inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.

Walt Disney

The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world’s
leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using
our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and
consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and
profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.

Having an inspiring Vision and Mission statement is critical to the process of putting your business on autopilot.