Many organizations have vision and mission statements. These aren’t just “corporatese.” It’s important to have them, even down to the team and individual level. A simple way of looking at it is helpful.
A vision statement defines and describes a problem you want to do something about. Most vision statements are written as the ‘after’ of a “Before & After” problem (some call it a “dream statement”):
- Oxfam: a just world without poverty
- Habitat for Humanity: a world where everyone has a decent place to live
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society: A World Free of MS
A mission statement is what the group will specifically do to solve the problem:
- Oxfam: To create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice.
- Habitat for Humanity International: Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society: We mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS.
The mission statement isn’t just corporate-speak. A well done statement creates a ‘boundary’ around the potential solution set the structure will explore. The National MS Society doesn’t exist to do research itself–it only mobilizes the resources to empower the research.
We can boil this down to two things everyone needs:
What problem/dream are you confronting?
How are you confronting it?
The reality is, you can’t do everything. To achieve anything requires specificity. So if you want to make a difference in your world, start by defining what difference you will make, and some sense of how you will make it. This is true whether you define “world” as the global world, the Christian world, or the world of your personal relationships.