All truly great leaders all have a mission that they put their heart and soul into and are able to articulate that mission in enrolling and inspiring ways.

Your own mission statement describes not just what your mission is, but why it is important in a larger sense for you and your team to achieve it. Writing your mission statement is just the beginning, as a leader you must be clear about the vision that drives the mission.

Vision: What is it?

Your vision is how the completed mission looks and feels. Vision is what connects you personally to the mission and shows how you believe the world looks like a better place in the future. If your mission is a task that has been handed down to you from one of your leaders, this is a great opportunity for to personalize the mission. Here is your chance to tell the world not just what you think the basic physical substance of the result is but the aesthetic of it as well. This is where you really get to connect with your team on a human level and motivate them by harnessing the power of their imaginations about the mission.

Things to consider as you contemplate your vision:

  • What does a successful outcome look and feel like?
  • Who benefits from that success and how their lives are better for it?
  • Is it consistent with the initial problem you set out to solve?
  • Does it accomplish every part of the mission you have taken on?
  • Are there some gaps in the vision you need to fill in?

Vision is not org charts, schedules, lists and financial spreadsheets. It may be tempting to start breaking down tasks and assigning them before your vision is firmly fixed in your mind because you know they will need to be done, but it’s important to establish the vision first to frame the desired outcome for your team before they get started. Organization and tools are important and will all come later.

Creating your Vision

Putting together a vision is a little more advanced than capturing your mission statement, but definitely worth the effort. Some tips to help you put together your vision:

  • Be very clear on what the mission statement is, what you are trying to achieve and why it is important.
  • Consider carefully who benefits from completing your mission. Not just your team or your company, but what is the good that comes about in the world by successfully achieving what you set out to do.
  • Project your thoughts into the future to a time when your mission has been achieved. Engage all of your senses and see, hear, touch, smell and taste what that success looks like. If it is a product, how does the finished product look? What does it sound like? What is the texture of it? Are there smells, tastes, sounds associated with the way you view the finished product? What are the emotions the finished product is intended to evoke? If the mission isn’t going to result in a physical product, such as an event or milestone, apply the same questions to the environment and people involved instead of a physical object.
  • Translate these thoughts and feelings into words to share with your team. Be as vivid as possible in describing the various physical and emotional aspects of what the completed mission will bring forth into the world. Try to get them to picture it in their minds as completely as you were able to picture it in yours.
  • Be prepared to answer questions from your team and clarify your meaning. Even your most experienced team members might have a hard time visualizing your vision. Attempt to make it as crystal clear in their minds as it is in yours.

Your vision may be something you want to unveil to your team when you first share the mission statement with them or, if more appropriate to your situation, you may want to give them the mission first and allow them to share in creating the vision. Including ideas from your team members can result in a deeper, more thoughtful vision that will achieve the most possible good in the world as you accomplish your mission.

Share your mission and vision statements with us in the comments. If you are struggling with putting those together, please contact us and we’ll give you a hand.

Photo Credit: By Alan Light [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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