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The difference between Vision and Mission

Time to end the confusion.

The more the world talks about vision and mission, the more it seems like it’s an obvious thing when trying to build a business. It’s treated as an elementary task as we quickly want to jump into the exciting parts of running a business. The trouble is, many either do not have the grips of the two or have managed to muster up them quickly as a check box exercise.

Vision is especially pivotal to you as a person and everything you do around you, yes, business too. It directs the decisions and choices you make personally and professionally. It is what your true North Star is.

Think of the vision as a dartboard and the mission as a dart. We give ourselves better chances to hit a target when we have both pieces. Many have darts with no board; what are you hitting? How have you come to those darts?

Here is how they work together.

Understanding Vision and Mission

Understanding the difference

Vision

So a vision stems from your purpose. Why, because your purpose is naturally you, without thinking. Who you are will determine where you are likely to go. In other words, what you stand for implies what you fight against. Your purpose naturally allows you to be geared for that; you thrive there.

Vision is what you fight for, the world you are trying to create. I’ve witnessed a few people with visions and accompanying missions, all complex forms of desires with no actual destination.

You only have one true vision; I call it an infinite vision. You will very well die trying to accomplish it; it is a battle to the end. A genuinely compelling statement will mean that your successor can continue the fight.

A purposeful vision overcomes all hurdles and obstacles and is not be affected by changing times. It is all-inclusive, allowing others to join you in the fight but not necessarily buy your products or services.

Mission

You actively do the mission to pursue that vision; however, you need to have a purposeful vision before determining the mission.

A mission is short-term, attainable and changes with the times. I often see ambitious mission statements beyond 5-20 years are too big to attain and almost scratches the surface of a vision. The behaviours of your audience are constantly changing with the trends of the society and need to be monitored and adjusted.

Microsoft is a great example case. When Bill Gates and Paul Allen created the goal to put a “computer on every desk”, they did just that over the years. Ambitious for sure; however, what happened when they did? Amid that mission, Apple was brewing behind the scenes with something more meaningful. Apple stood for something beyond computers, and many have since transitioned over.

What is problematic here is realigning the company, team and audience of their new aspirations, which is no easy job. Many of them lose interest, focus and passion for the drive they once had.

Keep your mission short, insight and be adaptive, for change is inevitable. Take a pulse check on how you have come to achieving that mission; is it still Correct? Current? Connected?

The comparison

Vision

Mission

The change you make
The steps you take
The long-term objective
the short-term goal
Something you envision
Something you actively do
The impact you make
The contribution you make
Defined by your purpose
Defined by your vision
Infinite
finite

Parting thought

If the mission were to send a man to the moon, the vision would be to explore the universe.

Anks Patel

Strategist & Peoplepreneur®

Stay Fulfilled.

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