By Maree Ferguson

What is a vision statement and why is it important to have one?

A vision statement provides inspiration and direction to an organisation on where it would like to be in the long-term future such as ten years or more.  A vision can motivate people to want to be part of the company’s journey and bigger plan.  It also helps staff understand how their work contributes to the organisation’s long-term goals.  The vision statement should be aspirational, so don’t be afraid to dream big.

What is the difference between a vision and mission statement?

Many people confuse vision and mission statements.  In contrast to a vision statement, a mission statement defines the current purpose of an organisation.  So what it does, who it does it for, how it does what it does and how is it different from other organisations.  The mission statement is for the short-term and generally reflects the next two to three years.

How do you develop a vision and mission statement?

I recommend having everyone in the team involved in developing your vision and mission statement.  The following process is a suggestion on how you could develop your team’s vision and mission statements.  Use a trained facilitator where possible for this activity.  Start by getting people into small groups and ask them to brainstorm words or short phrases they believe should be incorporated into the vision statement.  Then ask each group to share their ideas with the larger group.  Take these ideas back to the small groups and have another round of refining a few possible statements.  Return to the larger group and narrow the ideas down to 3-5 vision statements.  Ask people to vote on their preferred choice.  Repeat this process for the mission statement.

Another alternative is to have your leadership team develop the vision statement as they know where the organisation is heading in the future and then have the whole team develop the mission statement.

If you are creating a vision and mission statement for your team or department, you may also wish to consider the organisation’s vision and mission.  Ideally, both your vision and mission statements should be short so that all employees can remember them.

How often should you review your vision and mission statements?

Your vision statement is for the long-term so try not to change it too often.  However, you might review your vision statement every few years.

How do you use a vision and mission statement?

A vision statement can be used to inspire people and create a shared sense of purpose, thereby improving workplace culture.  Both statements can be used in decision-making to ensure that decisions being made are in line with the vision and mission.

What about a personal vision and mission statement?

You can also develop your own personal vision and mission statement to help provide clarity for yourself on your purpose and where you would like to be in the future.


Examples of vision and mission statements

As an example, our vision at Nutrition and Dietetics Department at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) is to be recognised as an international centre of excellence in nutrition and dietetics practice.  Our mission is advancing nutrition through innovative practice.

DAA Vision

Leadership in dietetics, food and nutrition for healthier people and healthier nations.

DAA Mission

DAA is the peak body of dietetic and nutrition professionals providing strategic leadership in food and nutrition and advancing the professional interests of our members.

The mission of Cleveland Clinic is to provide better care of the sick, investigation into their problems, and further education of those who serve.

The vision of Cleveland Clinic: Striving to be the world’s leader in patient experience, clinical outcomes, research and education.

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.