What Is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement is a business document that states the current and future objectives of an organization. A company’s vision must align with its mission, strategic planning, culture, and core values. A vision statement is not only used in business, as nonprofits and government offices also use them to set strategic goals.
Vision statements are not necessarily set in stone. They can be returned to, reviewed and revised as necessary. Any changes should be minimal, however, because a vision statement is a guideline for a company’s strategic plan, so it must be thoroughly reviewed.
The business vision of an organization might change over time, as companies adapt to their business environment and external factors that might affect their ability to achieve their mission.
A vision statement doesn’t have any particular length. However long it is, the vision statement is formally written and is used as a reference in company documents to serve as a guide for short and long-term strategic planning actions.
The best way to learn about vision statements is to look at real-life examples. We’ve gathered 15 vision statement examples from the best companies in the world to help you write your own.
What Is the Purpose of a Vision Statement?
As stated above, a vision statement is a very important part of an organization because it aligns with its mission, core values, and culture. It also guides the strategic plan, because it sets future goals. Similar to a mission statement, a vision statement it’s a living document that is referred to as a lodestar to lead a company to its next innovation.
There are also different types of vision statements, as companies have unique core values. For example, a motivational vision statement will both motivate existing employees and also drive talent to the company. They’ll want to work at a place with a business vision that aligns with their personal values. A strong vision statement also works to help differentiate your company from others. All companies want to become profitable, but a company can create a unique vision statement that is appealing to its customers and employees.
It’s very easy to get bogged down in the details of your mission statement and the day-to-day challenges of running an organization. That’s why you need a long-term vision statement to guide your efforts and help you plan long-term.
Now that we’ve learned what a company vision is, let’s look at the main differences between a vision and a mission statement, and how they relate to each other.
Vision Statement vs. Mission Statement
The vision statement and mission statement are both equally important for a company as they complement each other and guide the direction of your company. The main difference between them is that the mission statement describes what your company does, while your vision statement explains what the company attempts to achieve in the future.
On the other hand, their main similarity is that they both need to align with your company’s core values and culture because all these elements make up your company’s identity and differentiation factors.
Once you have your company mission and vision statements in place, the hard work begins. Now you can create a strategic plan, and begin executing your projects.
Once the vision statement is in place, the hard work begins. Project management software helps you achieve your goals and objectives. ProjectManager does this with one of the most robust Gantt charts on the market. Our work management tool creates a visual timeline, links task dependencies and sets milestones. Now you know what tasks are essential and whether your actual progress is aligned with what you planned. Make your vision a reality by trying our work management software free today.
How to Write a Vision Statement
Every company has a unique vision statement, but the process is similar for most of them. Here are some steps to help you write your own.
1. What Are the Core Values of Your Company?
The core values of your company define its identity and how it interacts with the communities and the environment. It’s important to understand them to define your company vision.
2. What’s Your Company Mission?
Understanding what your company does and how it operates it’s essential to planning for the future.
3. Understand Your Company Culture
A strong company culture it’s a very important part of the success of any business. That’s why your vision must be aligned with it, or otherwise, your strategic planning couldn’t work.
4. Identify Current Strategic Goals
Before you think about future goals, you must understand where your organization currently stands. Your vision might be a long-term plan that sets goals for the next 5 to 10 years, but those goals need to be realistic.
5. Define Future Goals
Think about what you’d like your company to achieve in the next 5 or 10 years based on the current status of your business and create a strategic plan to achieve your goals.
6. Write Your Vision Statement
Now that you have an idea of the main elements that are involved in the process of writing your vision statement, you can create one that fits your organization.
Best Practices for Writing a Vision Statement
There is no template for writing a vision statement, however, a common structure for successful ones includes these traits:
- Be Concise: This is not the place to stuff a document with fluff statements. It should be simple, easy to read and cut to the essentials so that it can be set to memory and be repeated accurately.
- Be Clear: A good rule of thumb for clarity is to focus on one primary goal, rather than trying to fill the document with a scattering of ideas. One clear objective is also easier to focus on and achieve.
- Have a Time Horizon: A time horizon is simply a fixed point in the future when you will achieve and evaluate your vision statement. Define that time.
- Make it Future-Oriented: Again, the vision statement is not what the company is presently engaged in but rather a future objective where the company plans to be.
- Be Stable: The vision statement is a long-term goal that should, ideally, not be affected by the market or technological changes.
- Be Challenging: That said, you don’t want to be timid in setting your goals. Your objective shouldn’t be too easy to achieve, but also it shouldn’t be so unrealistic as to be discarded.
- Be Abstract: The vision statement should be general enough to capture the organization’s interests and strategic direction.
- Be Inspiring: Live up to the title of the document, and create something that will rally the troops and be desirable as a goal for all those involved in the organization.
Because the vision statement is a foundational business document that will guide the company’s strategic planning direction for years to come, consider using project planning tools and brainstorming techniques to get input from everyone on the team. That way, you’ll get greater buy-in from the company, and you’ll widen your net for collecting business vision ideas.
Now that we understand the role that vision statements have in organizations, let’s look at real-life vision statement examples from 15 of the top companies in the world.
Vision Statement Examples
These examples prove that a vision statement isn’t a templated document that only differs from other organizations by the branded logo on top of it.
“Our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people.” That’s aspirational, short and to the point. More than that, it sets the tone for the company and makes it clear that they’re in the market to offer low-priced good furnishings that suit everyone’s lifestyle.
“Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)” Nobody cared much for sneakers in the past. They were just another piece of sports equipment. But Nike saw a future that had not yet existed, in which they delivered products that inspired and motivated people. Notice how they include everyone as an athlete. It’s clever and inclusive.
“To be the best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.” The power of this vision is that it’s constructed like a checklist. The word best is a word that requires definition, and McDonald’s provides it with qualifiers, making the roadmap to success clearly marked with signposts.
“We strive to offer our customers the lowest possible prices, the best available selection and the utmost convenience.” This follows the classic series of threes, each of which defines what a customer is looking for in a seller.
“Be the destination for customers to save money, no matter how they want to shop.” Here the retailer is positioning themselves at the customer’s bottomline, money, while stepping beyond brick-and-mortar to address the digital age of shopping.
“To provide access to the world’s information in one click” They’ve moved from the altruistic and more abstract “Don’t be evil” from their corporate code of conduct to the more customer-centric and pragmatic.
“To help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.” Shows that they’re both personal and professional, while highlighting how they help rather than profit off customers.
“People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world and to share and express what matters to them.” A bit of a mouthful, but then Facebook is working against a lot of negative exposure and wants to emphasize their connecting with people rather than alienating them.
“Our vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body and spirit.” More than just the iconic red coke can, the company is expressing their breath of products all promising to quench whatever thirst you have.
“Treat people like family, and they will be loyal and their all.” This defines how intimate the brand wants to be, to the point that you’ll not ask for a coffee but a Starbucks.
“To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.” They see an opening in the automotive field and want to be the lead in differentiating themselves from gas vehicles.
“Inspire the world with our innovative technologies, products and design that enrich people’s lives and contribute to social prosperity.” People love their electronics and Samsung says they’ll make the best and go even as far as to imply that’ll have more than mere entertainment value.
“Becoming the best global entertainment distribution service.” Aiming for world domination in streaming services is up front and center in their vision statement.
“Zoom is for you.” Simple and direct, if a bit presumptuous.
“We’re in business to save our home planet.” What, they don’t care about other planets? But seriously, this maker of outdoor wear and equipment knows that their customers are environmentally conscious and they’re tapping into the solution for global warming rather than fear of the future.
“A world without poverty.” This may seem to contradict one of the traits of a good vision statement in that it feels unrealistic. But as challenging visions go, it’s hard to see how anyone wouldn’t be inspired and motivated by this short and powerful one.