I used to have this speech I gave people at Koko of what a vision and mission was. I used the analogy of the United States of America.
A “Vision Statement” is really just an idea. It is a statement to the world saying, I believe this to be true and will make decisions accordingly. The Vision Statement of the USA is the Declaration of Independance.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
This was a bold and radical statement at the time. Governments up until that moment were assumed to be above the considerations of the governed people. This was an enormous logical leap forward in civilization. It was a vision of the future of the world. A vision of a government that believed in those words. This vision laid the groundwork for the building of the nation governed by laws and not of the whim of men.
The Mission Statement is basically just a list of goals. It can be one goal or many. The Mission Statement of the USA is the Preamble to the Constitution
We the People of the United States,
- in Order to form a more perfect Union,
- establish Justice,
- insure domestic Tranquility,
- provide for the common defense,
- promote the general Welfare,
- and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Again, this is a clear and concise list of goals the government of the United States set out to do. A clear Mission that can be used to guide every single decision.
Of course, these statements do not always guide our decisions. One example is that we could not seem to eliminate lynching in the South for 100 years AFTER the Civil War. This and many other examples are proof that our mission and vision are often ignored by our leaders. I believe that they are good Mission/Vision statements. I will continue to encourage my leadership and government to make decisions based on them.