ArtYour mission and vision statement – a big pile of clutter

Your Mission and Vision statements - a big pile of clutter


Since I started my business study journey, I have always encountered the terms Purpose statements, Mission statements, Vision statements very cloudy statements. They can get cluttered fast.

Every organisation has a different method for declaring its purpose or mission. Some have mission statements, and others only have a sense of purpose. Some have both mission and vision. Thus whatever way they declare their intentions, I always found no reason to follow any of these 70s-80s Americanised business models/methods of expressing purpose. Isn’t it such an old-fashioned idea/system? Why do we still hold so strongly to the idea that someone decided that all organisations need a vision or a mission one day? I do not believe in a business where the vision is a mission with purpose or where these concepts are related to a statement that only ticks the corporate way of doing business and that some clever researcher has ingrained in us.


Even the fathers of management Henry Mintzberg and James Waters showed us in their 1985 Strategic Management Journal article “Of Strategies, Deliberate and Emergent” that there are another eight approaches to strategy. A mission-driven and vision-driven (Ideological & Entrepreneurial Strategies, respectively), this example shows that we can use many other methods (six to be exact) to communicate our purpose outside the mission and vision dilemma. 

If you go from organisation to organisation (especially within dance organisations) after a vision or mission adventure, you can get confused because of how definitions change from company to company. In the end, the message is the same, fancy words coated in a big pile of clutter.  

There’s a lot of clutter out there, let me tell you. 

But in this article, we’re going to cut through that clutter. And for the sake of “the way we do business today”, we’ll cover the differences between vision, mission and purpose for you to have a clearer idea of what to do and how to use them.

Thus before we do this, I want to introduce you to a statement that uncovers all of the below definitions. The idea of a “CAUSE”. In my opinion, having a Cause that is honest, meaningful, and that can be, as Simon Sinek puts it, “a specific vision of an ideal state of the future that inspires people” would be more than enough to start your business journey.

What Is A Vision Statement?

A vision statement is a statement of the future if the organisation is successful. It’s a statement of where you as a company are headed. A vision statement describes what the world will look like if you achieve the mission that serves your purpose – (Basically, it is your Cause).

And the thing about vision statements is that they are by nature aspirational. They are meant to inspire by depicting a future worth working towards. 

What Is A Mission Statement?

So if the vision statement answers what the world will look like in the future, your mission answers the question of how? 

“How are we going to make that vision a reality?” 

How are we going to behave in our business environment? 

How are we going to win customers? (and keep them) 

How do we define the objectives to measure whether we’re making progress?

Mission statements are there for you to talk about how lives are changed. 

(Basically, it is your Cause).

In summary, your vision is what the world will look like when you’ve achieved your mission. So if we have the “what” and “how”, where is the “why”?


What Is A Purpose Statement?

A purpose statement is in charge of explaining your organisation’s reason for existence. It explains why your organisation was created in the first place and the journey you want to go with it. A purpose statement can be the closest to our Cause statement as it’s a declarative statement that offers the same explanation of values and how the organisation’s existence will uphold those values.

Pic: Ferbugs
a specific vision of an ideal state of the future that inspires people.”
  • Let’s have a closer look

Let’s look at them a little bit closer. I have included below the definition of each term and some meaningful examples you can take with you. I have also added what values should look like for you to have the entire scope of how to use the old-fashioned mission and vision statements.





Why we choose to exist together beyond financial gain

Pressure Test: Is this statement true for both the organization AND myself?

Try starting with ‘We believe ….”

  • TOMS: We believe we can improve people’s lives through business
  • MUJI: We believe in the allure of the natural
  • Facebook: We believe that connection is a human right
  • AMEX: We believe it is noble to serve others


The difference we’ll create in our customers’ lives or the larger world when we ultimately realize our Purpose

Pressure Test: Will this inspire people both inside and outside the company?

Try starting with ‘We will ….”

  • Tesla: We will accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation
  • Airbnb: We will help you belong anywhere
  • GoldieBlox: We will correct the gender imbalance in engineering
  • Uber: We will change the way the world moves
  • AMEX: We will become a company that cares and supports our own people like no other


An ambitious yet achievable position in our market or in our customers’ lives that recognizes our Purpose

Pressure Test: Does this make explicit what business we’re actually in?

Try starting with ‘Be the most …”

  • Tesla: Be the most compelling car company of the 21st century 
  • Toyota: Be the most successful and respected car company in America
  • Amazon: Be Earth’s most customer-centric company 
  • Nordstrom: Give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible
  • AMEX: To become the world’s most respected service brand


The principles and values that will accelerate our progress together

Pressure Test: Are there few enough to remember, and are they written in our own voice?

Try starting with a verb

  • Zappos: Deliver WOW Through Service
  • R/GA: Never Stop Looking Ahead
  • Hubspot: Obsess over customers, not competitors
  • Coca-Cola: Be committed in heart and mind
  • AMEX: Develop relationships that make a positive difference

© We Dance Agency

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.