The Toolkit – Part 1: Foundations (7) – mission statements revisited

In this post I explained the difference between vision and mission statements like this:

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.

I think this works – more or less – but I’m not happy with the example mission statement that followed, which contained four bullet points and more than a hundred words. John G suggested that the bullet point version is more like a set of strategic priorities, and I think he might be right.

Here’s something from the Peter Drucker Foundation for Non-Profit Management:

Why you do what you do; the organization’s reason for being, its purpose. Says what, in the end, you want to be remembered for.

Peter Drucker says the mission should “fit on a T-shirt,” yet a mission statement is not a slogan. It is a precise statement of purpose. Words should be chosen for their meaning rather than beauty, for clarity over cleverness. The best mission statements are plain speech with no technical jargon and no adornments. Like the mission statement of the International Red Cross — “To serve the most vulnerable” — they come right out and say something. In their brevity and simplicity is power.

Drucker Foundation – in a document I found here

Again, the lines are blurry between what I think of as vision and mission here. What do you think? More on this tomorrow.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...