The Difference Between Vision And Mission

Updated November 24, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Most companies have both vision and mission statements. Just like people, companies need direction. A lack of direction has shuttered many businesses. In addition to direction, just like people, businesses need to set and obtain goals while knowing how to go about achieving them. Their employees also need a sense of cohesiveness in order to work together in harmony. These ideas are encapsulated by the mission and vision statements, and this article helps to explain the difference between them, which is crucial for any business to understand.

Do You Need Help Developing A Vision Or Mission Statement?

The Difference Between Vision And Mission

Vision and mission statements are developed by various organizations to let others know what they do, where they’re at, and where they’re headed. Although both are needed for effective functioning, each serves a different purpose. The primary difference between a vision and a mission statement is the timeline, although there can be an overlap between the two. In general, a mission statement defines what an organization is currently doing, while a vision statement describes the ultimate goal of what it’d like to accomplish. The mission is what people do in order to achieve the vision. It is the how (mission) versus the why (vision).

The mission statement can also be used as a cohesive management tool. It is mutable and changes when circumstances or the needs of the company change. Employees’ duties, actions, and behaviors should all fall under the mission of the organization. Since the vision statement is a goal that may or may not be elusive, it’s not an effective way to direct individual employee behavior and expectations regarding day-to-day activities. However, it does give an employee an idea of what the organization hopes to accomplish as a team. The vision is always forward-thinking and because of this, it cannot be used for the daily operations of a company.

At times, different language is used by companies to describe vision and mission statements based on the type of organization. For instance, in the non-profit sector, organizations will often use the term action plans instead of “mission statement.” The term ‘core values’ is sometimes used instead of ‘vision statement’ as well. No matter what term is used, it is meant to describe overall goals (mission) and broad strategy (vision).

Mission Statement In Detail

The mission statement of a company is a declaration of what they do every day. It defines the day-to-day activities of their work and every person who works for the organization contributes to that mission. Think of it like the person who sets daily or weekly goals for themselves to accomplish. It describes to employees and customers what is being done right now. It is present-focused and can change very quickly depending on the circumstances of the business’s market.

For a company’s employees, it gives workers a sense of purpose about the value of their work. It is a broad statement that describes the cohesiveness of an organization, even if they do multiple and varied types of work in their individual departments. Many times, mission statements often start with sayings such as, “We provide…” or “We offer…” or “We are a…” The mission statement establishes a framework for the behavior of those working in the company. Performance standards can be based on a company’s mission statement, and they can guide decision-making for employees at various levels of the company.

Vision Statement In Detail

A vision statement is a clear, definitive statement of what you want to accomplish, and what the world will look like once you’ve accomplished your mission. Think of it as the perfect scenario that you’re working toward accomplishing. Also, knowing what is important in the community you are working in is oftentimes extremely important in crafting a vision statement. Unlike the mission statement, a vision statement is future-oriented. It provides a sense of what the company values to those both inside the company and out. At times, some companies will use their vision statement for public relations purposes.

Since a vision statement is used to direct overall strategic goals for a company, they tend to not change very often. Each goal is another step on the path toward achieving the overall vision of the company. Vision statements are written in the present tense but still serve the future of the enterprise. When a vision statement can be read in the present tense and sounds accurate, it lets an organization know that its vision is being achieved. For example, a vision statement for a nonprofit that works to eliminate homelessness may read, “All children will live in safe, affordable housing.” Therefore, making sure children are in safe, appropriate housing is the overall strategic goal of that non-profit.

A lack of vision is like driving down a road without a map. You may be moving forward but have no idea of your actual destination. A good vision statement will create that much-needed direction and express that direction’s importance.

Personal Vision And Mission Statements

Do You Need Help Developing A Vision Or Mission Statement?

While most often used by organizations, sometimes families or individuals develop their own mission and vision statements to direct their actions and activities. For instance, it helps to ask questions such as: “What are my dreams?” and “What inspires me?” The language might be different; for instance, people may express their vision statement with the use of a personal credo in lieu of a vision statement. Either way, the purpose is the same.

Online Counseling With BetterHelp

Knowing who you are and where you are headed is important information to understand. If you think you could benefit from a personal mission or vision statement, or if you are struggling with writing one for your company or need support managing your team effectively under your mission, a counselor may be able to help. BetterHelp offers therapy services online so you can get the support you need without leaving the office or home. Although work and home life can be stressful and take up lots of time, online therapy allows you to get the care you need according to your schedule and availability. You can connect in the way that’s most convenient for you, whether through a phone call, video chat, or messaging feature. Getting support can be simpler than ever before. 

The Effectiveness Of Online Counseling

Online counseling has been proven to be just as effective as traditional, face-to-face therapy for treating a variety of mental health conditions, as well as assisting with other problems. One study found that internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy reduced stress levels for participants and improved symptoms of depression, anxiety, and emotional exhaustion. CBT is a therapeutic intervention that teaches people to replace their unhelpful thoughts with more positive ways of thinking. 

The Takeaway 

Mission and vision statements are crucial for an individual or business. An online counselor who is experienced in this area can provide insight and support to help you create the mission and vision – and ultimately the team – that you’re hoping for in order to succeed in life. The process of leading the life you imagine isn’t always easy, but certain resources and supportive individuals can help ease your burden and get you closer to your goals.  

Below you can read reviews of counselors at BetterHelp who have helped others cope with issues related to personal drive, vision, and mission.

Counselor Reviews

“In the short span of 9 months, Shonnie has become like one of my best friends. At first, I was skeptical of doing therapy since I’m very “psychologically healthy”. A few challenges in my personal life lead me to try therapy for a month. Now I consider it an important part of my growth as a businessman and leader within my community. Thank you Shonnie for being so helpful during the recent difficulties; I am very lucky to have found you!”

“Tyson did a really good job and I can finally say that I don’t need therapy right now, since I am in much better shape. He was my counselor for about 5 or 6 months for depression, best therapist I’ve had. He helped me accomplish many of my career and personal goals, and I am much happier than I was now. When you align with your values with career, family, or anything else in your life, your life becomes much better. He also left me with a few techniques I can work on so I can continue to work on observing and overcoming my negative thoughts and behaviors. I would highly recommend. Thank you Tyson!”

The Takeaway

Mission and vision statements, while primarily geared toward businesses, can help guide us in our professional and personal lives. It may be difficult for an individual or company to develop them, but they don’t have to be developed alone. BetterHelp can help with the advice of a behavioral expert at an efficient cost. Your visions and missions are waiting to be engaged. Take the first step today.

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