So what’s the difference between the two? Well, a vision provides direction where leadership wants to take the organization. It’s like a high level goals statement – “be the best at . . . etc.” A mission lays out how that vision will be carried out. It essentially defines how we should be doing our job to accomplish the vision.
One would think that if we didn’t know how to do our job, we wouldn’t be here in the first place. However, a mission can be important if the goals (as defined by the vision) has changed. Different goals may mean different methods for accomplishing them.
The problem is that often management develops these statements because they feel they must, not because they’re changing how things get done. This is why vision and mission statements are often so meaningless and ineffective.
As managers, we need to understand the vision – the goals – of our employer, and agree with the mission – how we get there. More than that, to be truly effective and good at our job we need to actually believe that those goals are meaningful and know how our role fits into the mission. If we (or our staff) can’t get behind them, its just been time wasted writing them.