The Importance of Vision and Mission

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We at Zebra recently crafted a revised mission statement for our company and, for the first time, a vision statement. It was no easy task to succinctly convey our vision and mission, but, as a company that has evolved greatly over the last 10 years, we knew it was essential to our further success.

Vision and mission statements need to be more than catchy words hung on posters around the office. They must capture the essence of an organization, unite it toward a common goal, and provide the path to success. They, together with an organization's values, should help foster a positive, purpose-minded culture.

But what are vision and mission statements? We defined vision upfront as the desired state of what Zebra can become and stand for in the future. This is a long-term view. Some organizations describe what they would like the world to be in which they operate. The mission is the pathway you will follow to get there. Zebra's mission explains the fundamental reason we exist and we're doing to achieve our vision.

For Zebra, our vision is: Together with partners, create a smarter, more connected global business community. And our mission: Delight customers with the ability to take smarter actions through innovative products and solutions that enable visibility.

During the process, we took a look at other industry leaders' vision and mission statements, which was really interesting. The approaches varied quite a bit. Google's vision and mission are quite simple. Their vision: To develop a perfect search engine. Their mission: To organize the world's information ad make it universally accessible and useful.

Starbucks has taken a very inspirational, almost spiritual approach to their vision, which is: To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. And their mission is: Establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world, while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow.

What's your organization's vision and mission? Do you feel they effectively unify the people and culture around a common purpose?

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