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The difference between vision statement and mission statement?
Many companies do not make a clear distinction between vision statement and mission statement. However, a good mission statement is not identical to the corporate vision. It describes the following three points in a concise and also emotional way:
- What is the company doing at the present time?
- How does the company strategically put its business idea into practice?
- Why does the company’s mission statement materialize in a certain way?
A mission statement, then, is about existence, values, and goals in the present. Provocatively formulated: What is the current raison d’être of the company’s business idea and business model? The mission statement addresses both internal and external stakeholders. In contrast to the corporate vision, it tends to focus on the external impact of the organization. The vision statement, on the other hand, refers to a longer period of time. It is strategically oriented and describes where the company wants to go in the next few years. The focus is on the motivation and emotional commitment of the company’s own employees. The corporate culture is therefore a direct component of the vision.
Why you should draft a mission statement for your company
A good mission statement is not only important for large established companies, but also for start-ups. On the one hand, formulating a concise, convincing strategy involves a self-understanding process: The mission statement answers the question of the mission statement, i.e., what the company stands for. In addition, it communicates not only the company’s business idea, but also its corporate identity, goals and corporate values. The development of a mission statement can be compared to the creation of an effective slogan: What image does the company want to convey of itself and its business activities? Which target groups are to be addressed by it? A clear positioning is important here, not only with regard to the company’s own employees, but above all for external stakeholders. Ideally, the mission statement reflects the values of all stakeholders it is intended to reach. A note for founders: It is optimal if the mission statement is formulated at the same time as the start of the business activity or already in the preparatory phase of the business opening. It provides a mission statement and thus orientation in decision-making processes and in daily to-dos. At the same time, it is an important component of value-oriented corporate management. Formulating the company’s vision is additionally important.
Examples of mission statements
Many companies have formulated compelling and impactful mission statements that get to the heart of what they want to communicate to their customers and other stakeholders – ultimately, the soul of their brands. Here are a few examples. – Nike defines as its mission to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (“To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”). The phrase sums up in a very concise way what Nike offers to its customers and other stakeholders. – ChariTea is a start-up whose business idea is to distribute organically produced and fairly traded iced teas. The company pays attention to fair working conditions and supports social projects in the countries where its teas are grown. Its mission statement is to change the world by drinking tea. – Wikipedia lets it be known in its mission statement that its raison d’être is to create a world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge (“A world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge”).
These 4 questions will help you formulate your mission statement.
In an effective mission statement, storytelling is the goal: to communicate the company’s identity in a few concise sentences. When drafting the statement, the following four questions and, of course, the answers to them will help:
- What do we do?
What is the business idea, the business model, the company’s raison d’être?
- How do we do it?
What is our unique approach? How and why do we make this exact offer to our customers and other stakeholders?
- Who are we doing it for?
Who are our target groups in the market? Who do we want to reach with our products or our services?
- What values are we creating?
At this point, of course, it is ideally not just about material values or physical products, but about the ideal benefits associated with a product and the company’s activities as a whole. This point of the mission statement also explicitly expresses the corporate culture and the image that a company wishes to have. When drafting the mission statement, it is important to formulate it precisely. The most important requirements can be summarized as follows:
- A mission statement must be unique and original, otherwise it will fail to serve its purpose.
- It must be formulated briefly and concisely, yet emotional components – the company’s own enthusiasm and conviction – must be made clear.
- A good mission statement communicates the company’s purpose in a concrete way.
- Positive terms arouse interest and build emotional bridges.
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Purpose as a success driver for companies
- The purpose is the foundation of entrepreneurial action.
- The vision describes the desired positioning.
- The mission concretizes the products and services to be created.
Purpose – Vision – Mission In corporate presentations and corporate self-portrayal, the terms purpose, vision and mission are neither clearly distinguished nor consistently differentiated. Therefore, it is shown here how these terms are connected with each other.
The answer to the question “Why?” leads to Purpose.
The Purpose defines the overarching reason or purpose why a company exists (keyword Collective Purpose or Higher Purpose (see also Nugget Purpose I). The purpose is to clarify why a company embarks on a particular journey. It is about the justification of one’s own doing. The Purpose is therefore the answer to the question why a company does what it does. What big problems are being solved? This answer to this question is often, as it were, the statement of purposethat leads to the founding history of new companies of new companies. For established companies, it is about a convincing answer to the question: What would the world lose if the company did not exist? The same question needs to be answered for any brand! The core target group for the Purpose are all stakeholders of the company.
The answer to the “How?” question yields the vision.
Through the vision the purpose is broken down more concretely to the respective company and thus becomes more vivid. The vision provides the basis for the future positioning of the company and for the development of strategies to achieve it. As a picture, the vision concretizes in broad strokes how the journey should take place and shows what the future will look like if the overarching goals are achieved. The vision clarifies the direction in which the company wants to develop. Visions should be defined ambitiously. They should inspire by painting a picture of a future worth working toward. The core target group for the vision are the company’s own (current and potential) managers and employees.
The answer to the “What?” question leads to the mission.
Through the Mission the vision is broken down into more concrete goals, behaviors and tasks. The journey is broken down into specific stages, and specific intermediate goals are defined and resourced. The mission is thus an actionable vision statement and, as it were, the roadmap through which a vision can be brought to life. The mission is the transition to the provision of very concrete products and services. The core target group for the mission here are the customers of the company. One thing must be taken into account here. The purpose, vision and mission are initially just words. Ideally, these words are suitable for creating motivating images in the minds of managers and employees as well as other stakeholders. Whether and how action is actually taken depends solely on the people acting. Otherwise, words simply remain words without being translated into corresponding actions. How often have we thought of the quote from Goethe here? “Words have been exchanged enough, let me finally see deeds! While you are exchanging compliments, something useful can happen.”
What is the status of purpose-based management in Germany?
As part of the Kienbaum Purpose Study 2020 more than 1,300 specialists and managers were surveyed on the topic of purpose in Germany. The following key findings were obtained from this survey (cf. Kienbaum 2020, pp. 9, 50f.):
- 59% of employees do not know the Purpose of their company. This means that only 41% of those surveyed have read the official purpose statement of their employer is known.
- 46 % of the respondents could not report on a concrete Purpose implementation process report.
- 54% of respondents were involved in the development of the Purpose in their company.
- Only 34% recognize a clear distinction between purpose, vision and mission. 40% say “no” and another 26% don’t know.
- 39 % of the companies are focused on economic value creation oriented. 15 % focus primarily on social value creation. 22 % pursue an equally social, ecological and economic value creation..
- For the implementation of the Purpose are CEO or management responsible. They are supported by HR and corporate communications.
- 66% of executives report an increase in brand brand awareness and an improved communication reach since the introduction of the Purpose.
- A clearly communicated Purpose is associated with better financial performance indicators (sales and profitability) and better personal personal performance indicators (credibility, commitment and sense of purpose).
These findings from Kienbaum highlight important areas for action that have not been comprehensively addressed to date. Another conceptual approach to analysis of purpose in German companies was based on the Purpose Readiness Study by GlobeOne (2021, p. 11). In order to determine the Purpose Readiness Index the following five purpose-relevant dimensions were examined:
- Not sustainable
Based on these values, 0-100 points were assigned for the companies studied. Depending on the score, the companies are certified as having a “missing basis” (< 50 points), "critical purpose gaps" (50-59 points), "partially purpose-ready" (60-69 points) or "purpose-ready" (> 70 points). In this study, 96 mostly German consumer-facing companies were assessed by 3,094 study participants. In the course of this Purpose Readiness Study GlobeOne (2021, p. 4) obtained the following results.
The majority of German brands are only partially purpose-ready
- Only 15% of the brands analyzed are so well positioned with consumers and the public that they can communicate a purpose comprehensively and credibly.
- 57 % of the brands are only partially “purpose-ready”. Their starting point is nevertheless credible enough to communicate with Purpose and the fulfillment of ESG criteria (cf. ESG nugget).
- The convincing winner of the Purpose Readiness Index is dm Drogeriemarkt with 78.1 points, followed by Zeiss (73.7) and the previous first place winner Bosch (73.5). Kärcher and Miele follow in 4th and 5th place, each with 73.4 points.
Service providers are still struggling with Purpose credibility in many cases – the real estate sector is particularly poorly positioned.
- With the exception of the retail sector, the purpose credibility of the service-related industries below the industry average of 62.6 points.
- Service-related companies struggle to make a positive contribution to sustainability and societal concerns visible.
- This is particularly evident in the real estate sector. Here, the now merged companies Vonovia (44) and Deutsche Wohnen (42.7) occupy two of the last five places.
Purpose as the basis for a leadership claim and convincing communication
- Although many companies are now addressing the issue of “Purpose,” the possible communication potential is usually not fully exploited.
- The weakened trust in political parties could companies with a high Purpose credibility for their positioning as thought leaders thought leaders.
- A convincing Purpose positioning provides an exciting starting point for communicating with investors who are increasingly focusing on ESG criteria (see ESG nugget).
One thing becomes clear here: The potential that can be realized with a convincing purpose positioning is far from being fully exploited. This is made particularly clear once again by the following results (cf. GlobeOne 2021, p. 7):
- So far, 80% of DAX companies have defined a purpose statement. Such a purpose statement represents the first important part of purpose-based corporate management.
- However, only 28% of employees feel fully connected to the company’s purpose. This means that the Communication of the Purpose bei zwei Dritteln der Führungskräfte und Mitarbeiter bisher gescheitert ist (vgl. Purpose-Nugget 2). Wie soll dann eine positive Ausstrahlung auf die weiteren Stakeholder gelingen?
- Lediglich 10 % der Marketer sagen, dass der Zweck ihres Unternehmens über das reine Produkt- bzw. Dienstleistungsversprechen hinausgeht und auch ein gesellschaftliches Engagement umfasst. Durch die fehlende Verankerung des Purpose kann es nicht gelingen, die gesamte Belegschaft auf die Umsetzung des Purpose im täglichen Tun einzustimmen.
Hier wird nochmals deutlich, dass für eine umfassende Verankerung einer Purpose-basierten Unternehmensführung noch ein langer Weg zu beschreiten ist.
The University Hospital
Our mission statement for the University Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine Tübingen
We live an appreciative way of dealing with each other and with each other. This includes cooperation at eye level in a patient-centred network of clinics, institutes and external partners. We offer our employees a wide range of development opportunities in a secure environment and optimally prepare our junior staff for their future careers in studies and training. We also keep a close eye on the social challenges of our time.
- We care for our patients empathetically and competently at the highest medical level.
- We research and develop new innovative methods for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases in all medical fields. As a university hospital, we are particularly concerned with complex, serious and rare diseases.
- We shape medical care for the benefit of our patients with forward-looking teaching and training.
From Tübingen, we are a driving force behind medical progress both nationally and internationally – close to the people.
The service to people drives us and is at the centre of our actions – whether on, for and with the patient, his relatives or ourselves. Always respectful and appreciative.
We create and convey knowledge and apply it. We make it available to others, even across borders. In doing so, we learn continuously, ask questions, question and educate ourselves further.
Our uniqueness and our added value lie in the synergy of patient care, research and teaching. We are one team. Dialogue is the bridge. This dialogue must be constantly conducted and maintained – interprofessionally and interdisciplinarily, across hierarchies.
We set standards in research, teaching and patient care: This is our responsibility and our claim. We achieve this through innovative and sustainable action. In this way, we create an attractive environment for top-level medicine – both nationally and internationally.
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