One of the first exercises that every company should undertake in its nascent days is the development of a vision and mission statement. These statements act as a compass to steer these companies’ operations.
However, they address different processes and there is a need for management to understand the difference between the two statements. What are the differences between the vision and mission in terms of operation management?
i. Nature of Operations
A vision statement of a company denotes the overarching goal that the company wants to achieve in the future, while its mission statement refers to the means of achieving the goal. Subsequently, a mission defines the nature of operations that the organisation will undertake in a quest to achieve the ultimate objective, that is, the vision. Additionally, mission speaks to the employees and consumers about what the organisation is doing currently.
In other words, the mission statement details the day-to-day activities of an organisation. It also provides cohesiveness necessary to achieve the ultimate goal. Thus, the mission provides an umbrella that covers all operations making them work in sync.
ii. Target Market
An organisation uses its vision statement to define its target market, but not its mission statement. Given that a vision refers to the overall goal of an entity, consumer satisfaction stands as one of the components of the goal. If the market still features a customer-satisfaction gap related to the products and services of an entity, then the it is yet to achieve its vision.
Do we have any companies that have ever achieved its vision? The answer is no. However, a corporate can achieve its mission. Every team is in pursuit of achieving its vision due to changes that the market experiences frequently. Such companies use their mission statements to align with the market changes.
iii. Means of Executing Operations
It is the role of the mission to define critical processes and the level of performance that the company desires. The role helps in the alignment of the processes in an optimized manner that gets the organisation closer to fulfilling its objective. Therefore, the mission statement assesses the capacity of the entity and it also provides the means to bridge any gap that can derail a smooth flow of the processes.
The means of executing operations should feature flexibility that accommodates any present or future changes. Subsequently, it should be under the mission statement of an entity. It is possible to keep on changing the mission of an org in line with the changes in the market, but the changes should align with the vision of a company, which remains static. Therefore, the mission of a company defines the means of executing operations due to its flexibility.
iv. Hopes and Dreams
To hope and dream are future aspects that every organisation holds. They define the bigger picture that the company wishes to achieve in terms of the success of its operations. Notably, a vision is a future achievement while the mission defines present activities. In line with the tense of two statements, it is a vision statement that supports the hopes and dreams of an entity, but not its mission statement.
v. Nature of a Problem Being Solved
One of the main objectives of the operations of an organisation is to provide a solution to a certain problem or need. However, it has to identify the problem or need before the commencement of its operations. It is the vision of the company that defines the problem or need that the company seeks to solve, but not its mission statement.
vi. Expected Deliverables/Changes
A vision statement of an org details where it wants to be, or the final destination, unlike a mission statement that defines the means of getting there. It provides an answer to the question,” What does the company want to achieve?” The answer to the question defines the results or the expected deliverables. The vision also talks about the expected changes that the operations of the company will yield.
vii. Business Continuity
Business continuity denotes the mitigation of interruptions to the routine processes of an organisation. Even though the interruptions remain future events, they are related to the current activities that the company undertakes. Subsequently, business continuity falls under the mission statement.
The corporate house has to keep a check on its day-to-day operations as a means of identification, prevention, and control of any interruption to a smooth flow of its operations. The move makes business continuity become a daily routine thus making it part and parcel of the mission statement.
viii. Sustainability of Operations/Going Concern
Sustainability refers to the existence of a process into an unforeseeable future. It is different from business continuity since lack of sustainability is not reversible unlike the occurrence of business discontinuity. However, the two elements are under the mission statement of a company since they address the day-to-day activities.
ix. Communication of Purpose
A vision of an organisation defines the aim of the operations that it undertakes unlike a mission statement that details the nature of the operations. It communicates the purpose of the company to its stakeholders. In other words, it communicates the future of an org given its present operations.
The futuristic nature of a vision makes it a source of motivation and inspiration. What can happen if an organisation achieves its vision? Then the vision can stop stirring the need to operate and the org can only close business or develop another vision. A vision cannot become present meaning that the organisation remains in pursuit of a vision.
A vision equates to a carrot that dangles in front of a horse making it keep moving. The horse trots on with a hope that it will get to the carrot and chew it. Similarly, a vision motivates the running of the operations of an org. All stakeholders work together intending to facilitate the achievement of a vision of a company.
Similar to inspiration, a vision focuses on aspiration, which refers to a future desired state. The futuristic aspect of a vision is similar to that of aspiration. The vision defines the aspiration of the operations that the organisation undertakes.
xii. Organizational Culture
Given that a mission statement brings operational cohesiveness, it dictates the structure of the organizational culture. The culture defines the conduct of the employees towards the stakeholders of the company. Subsequently, the organizational culture seeks to form a cordial relationship between the organization and its stakeholders.
It is the role of a mission statement to define the governance of a company. Its audience includes the leaders, stockholders, and the team. Governance defines the roles of its subjects, thus providing the expected functioning of the subjects and consequences that arise from any deviation from the expected responsibilities.
Governance provides the required control and measures that are ideal for the achievement of the ultimate operational goal of an org. Each stakeholder has to understand their respective scope of duties that form part of the day-to-day activities. Given the present nature of governance, it falls under the mission statement.
Internationalization translates to the expansion of operations of an organisation, or a transfer of the same. The process seeks to better the performance of a company by targeting a potential market. An entity that adopts internationalization ought to have an ultimate future goal in mind, and the process only facilitates the achievement of the goal. Subsequently, internationalization falls under the mission statement of an entity since it is a process rather than a goal that a vision represents.
xv. Stakeholders’ Returns
Every company yearns to maximize its stakeholders’ returns. Each org holds the expectations of its stakeholders at heart. It has to position its operations in a manner that facilitates the achievement of the goal. The move results in a cordial relationship between the organization and its stakeholders thus facilitating a smooth flow and optimization of its operations.
Given that the returns represent one of the goals of an organisation, it falls under the vision of the org, but not under its mission statement. Every entity has to use the returns of the stakeholders as a parameter that shapes its operations. Oversight on the returns threatens business continuity, as well as sustainability.
In conclusion, the difference between the vision and the mission statement do not apply to the goals and objectives of an entity only, but also to the various processes that the org undertakes. Each statement influences specific operations of the company. Subsequently, every company has to refer to its vision and mission when shaping its operations. Any oversight on the move can result in the omission of crucial inputs to the processes, thus affecting their efficiency and effectiveness.