This post is part of the working draft of the DriverlessCrocodile Toolkit (read more here). I’d love comments, links to resources related to the theme, and original contributions.
From vision to mission
If a vision statement is a statement about ends (the world you’re working to make a reality), a mission statement is about means: what are the primary activities your organisation does to make the vision a reality.
So from a vision like: “We work for a future where all children across Indonesia have the opportunity to learn to read, and to love reading.” (Saya Suka Membaca)
We get a mission statement like:
“We do this by:
- Creating an Indonesia-specific reading curriculum and resources that are effective teaching tools, engaging for learners, and easy to use for teachers;
- Publishing high-quality, contextually relevant stories and graded reading books so that Indonesian children can enjoy the pleasure of reading as early as possible;
- Equipping teachers to use these resources effectively through training and on-going mentoring, helping them to develop as skilled and inspiring teachers of reading who do their best for the children in their care;
- Continually seeking to improve our program and increase our impact by field-testing our resources and responding to feedback, by trying out new ways to serve teachers, parents and children, and by building networks of good practice and advocacy.” (Saya Suka Membaca)
Spot the difference
With the disclaimer that many excellent companies use vision and mission statements in different ways, in my understanding the difference between the two is the distinction made above between ends (vision) and means (mission).
The vision is longer-term, and is the reason that the organisation exists. If the vision became a self-sustaining reality, the organisation should stop its work.
Mission serves the vision. It’s still fairly strategic and stable, but is also context-dependent and more liable to change in the medium to long term. For example, if it turned out that giving a free tablet-computer to every child in Indonesia was a more effective way to achieve the vision, then we should add that to our mission, and possibly abandon another part of the current mission.