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Mission Statement vs. Company Values vs. Vision: Difference and Best Practices

Many times, when people refer to the company mission, values, and vision, they can use the three terms interchangeably and do not understand how each has a different impact on a company’s goals and objectives.

  • A mission statement refers to the company’s objectives and often state a way for the organization to meet them.
  • A vision statement is where a company discusses their plans for the organization and how this relates to overall company goals. The organization has the burden of getting internal and external stakeholders to understand the mission and vision and how they help propel the company forward to the next level.
  • Companies normally refer to company values as core values, and they are the principles that support the organization’s vision, culture, and overall philosophy. Values bring character to the group, and it can help leaders and management guide teams through ethical and performance concerns. These are the standards that organizations can cling to in times of transition.

For internal stakeholders, mission and value statements can define performance standards, drive strategy and become a broad idea to hold onto during times of transition, establish a structure for ethical behavior, and provide focus and shared goals. Regarding external stakeholders, they can serve as a PR tool, create bonds with customers, provide a basis for streamlining communication between customers, suppliers, and partners.

Part 1

Examples of Mission Statements

Mission statements are specific and discuss what the organization is attempting to achieve and how they are willing to do it. It is all about creating a one-statement representation of what the organization is all about. They also answer the question of why the company exists in the first place. Below are a few examples of companies who have responded to why their business exists, how they plan to solve the problem they were created to answer, and what they stand for in a matter of one or two sentences.

  • Sweetgreen

    To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.” – Sweetgreen (stylized as sweetgreen) is an American fast food chain that specializes in serving healthy food to customers. The mission statement not only talks about their purpose for existing (spurring healthy communities by serving healthy and authentic food), but they make the customer feel that the mission will directly benefit them as well.

  • Patagonia

    Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” – Patagonia is an outdoor apparel brand company. They let the public know what they are all about with this statement. They build products for those who love to spend their time outdoors, and they are involved in a lot of philanthropic work that helps promote environmental sustainability and protections.

  • American Red Cross

    Prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.” – The American Red Cross provides a host of services for people who have faced severe emergencies. They talk about their ties to helping those in suffering and connect them with the solution: the power of volunteers and generosity of donors.

Useful mission statements connect the “why” with the “how” in one to two sentences. This is why it is essential for companies to use this as a means to create an identity for the company.

Examples of Core Values

  • Facebook – Focus on Impact, Move Fast, Be Bold, Be Open, Build Social ValueAll of these values make sense for the social network. Facebook is created to have a global impact, rapidly follow social trends, develop opportunities for boldness and openness, and ultimately create social value. It would make sense that the company would also instill values that impact their workers.
  • Proctor and Gamble – Integrity, Leadership, Ownership, Passion for Winning, TrustP&G is responsible for creating a large number of products that cover a wide variety of industries, many of whom involve health aspects and childcare. It would make sense that integrity and trust would be a theme that runs through their core values.
  • Build-A-Bear – Reach, Learn, Di-bear-sity, Colla-bear-ate, Give, Cele-bear-ateBuild-A-Bear is a company that invites children to create their own bears. The additions of “bear” to their core values highlights the playful and kid-friendly culture they want to cultivate for customers and employees. Children are encouraged to learn and become creative, two critical values for a company like Build-A-Bear.

Part 2

Creating Mission Statements and Company Values

While mission and value statements will only be one to two sentences, each word has to be considered and discussed. These two statements can define the reputation of an organization and determine how internal and external stakeholders see them. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the process of to create efficient mission and value statements.

  1. Determine Who Needs to Be in the Conversation

    Since the mission and values will impact the whole organization and those who interact with it, it is essential to have the right players involved in the conversation. Managers, leaders, department heads, shareholders, frontline employees, board members, etc. the list could go on. Some of this will depend on how long companies have been in existence, but those who are switching out values will require an entirely different set of people for the conversation.

  2. Brainstorm

    Create an environment where no answer is a wrong one, and encourage all involved to name elements they think of when they think about the function of the company. Leaders need to get everyone’s take on how others might see the company and identify keywords and principles that could be used to capture its purpose.

  3. Decide What Sets You Apart

    There are tons of companies out there that do the same thing, and one of the ways organizations can set themselves apart is by creating a distinguishing mission and core values statement. Leaders also have to decide how they want to be defined and known for. Is charity going to be a big part of the mission? Is the focus on efficiency and providing a streamlined customer experience? What principles should employees make important in how they operate? These are questions leaders need to answer when crafting these statements.

  4. Rank Each Element and Ensure Accuracy

    Rank the words used for the mission statement and core values by their level of importance to what the organization does. Leaders need to guide the discussion through each term and discuss how essential each one is to capture what they do. Leaders also need to make sure that statements do not create a hyperbole and box the company into doing something they do not offer.

  5. Create a Mission and Value Statement That Compliments Each Other

    The mission and value statements should complement one another. They should look like they come from the same train of thought. If the core values are transparency and trust, then the mission statement should expound on these ideas and discuss why they are essential to what the organization does.

Part 3

Maintaining Mission Statements and Company Values

It is not enough to just create thought statements that address the mission and core values of a company. Leaders have to make sure that employees and senior leadership embody these ideas to add to the reputation of the organization. Therefore, it is vital to maintain the mission and values.

  1. Make the Statements a Part of the Daily Conversation

    Whenever goals, objectives, or performance standards are discussed, the dialogue should come back to the mission and values of the company. Leaders can even include both in email signatures and office memos to continue to make these visible to employees. If employees see leaders treating these components like they matter, then employees will more than likely do the same.

  2. Stay Tuned to Straying Away

    As companies evolve with the time, it is vital for leaders to stay tuned to this and make sure they examine any proposed changes, mergers, or new initiatives to the mission and values. Mission creep is a real thing, and it is entirely possible to stray and make the mission and values obsolete. So, leaders need to keep this in mind when any new projects or expansions are proposed.

  3. Don’t Be Afraid to Change

    With the previous point in mind, change does happen. Companies grow in size, priorities change, and leaders will transition in and out. There are times when it is important to see if the mission and vision outlined in the beginning still describe what the organization does. Slight alterations may need to happen, but it needs to occur with the input of internal and external stakeholders.

Part 4

Mission Statements Best Practices

  1. Make Both Vital to the Culture

    While the mission and core values should influence operations and procedures, it should also permeate throughout the culture. Whether it is a company outing or volunteer event, senior leadership should exemplify these components and encourage employees to do the same.

  2. Drive Them Home Through Team-Building

    If the mission involves environmental sustainability, then leaders should work with a nonprofit organization to have employees volunteer with this cause. If a core value relates to innovation, then creating spaces or labs where employees can collaborate and come up with new ideas that benefit themselves and the company should happen. No man is an island, and if the mission and values are connected to team building, then it is easier for these ideas to become a part of the work environment.

  3. Make Both a Part of the Onboarding Process

    The first ideas that new hires should interact with are the mission statements and core values. These should be on full display, so new employees understand how important they are, and they can begin to understand the internal culture of the organization.

Effective leadership is all about communicating effectively.
Status.net is a cloud solution for effective leadership communication. It brings a more light-hearted tone to messaging making it easily digestible, and makes it easy for leaders to improve company culture.

How to use status.net to improve company culture:

  1. Leadership communication:
    a) Build trust and improve company culture by sharing regular updates and how reasoning behind your decisions is connected to your company values.
    b) Share information about company announcements, branch news, new hires, etc.
    c) Share company goals and objectives regularly.
  2. Team communication:
    a) Easily implement daily or weekly status updates for your team members by creating a status feed “How did you contribute to the team’s goals this week?”. Use comments section and emoji to show appreciation and acknowledge a job well done.
    Seven out of ten employees who receive appreciation for their work say they’re happy with their jobs“.
    b) Create automated scheduled questionnaires with questions like “How can we improve?“.
    Status.net allows you to configure granular access permissions to set up who can view the answers (optional).
  3. For recurrent questionnaires: no one forgets to answer because status.net sends automated reminders according to the recurrence schedule you chose.
  4. Increase workplace satisfaction by improving transparency:
    Each status update has a separate section for comments, which is used by team members to clarify information, including upcoming goals, and by leaders to provide feedback and coordinate better without micromanagement.
  5. Use status updates for future reference and decrease time and efforts spent on monthly, quarterly, and yearly reporting thanks to powerful filtering and export features.
  6. Optionally, enrich reports with the latest updates automatically added from web apps your team uses (such as project management tools, version control systems, support systems, financial applications, CRM, etc.) by connecting these apps to your status feed.
  7. Spend less time on meetings by making them more productive because everyone is on the same page at all times.
  8. Sharing: Status updates can be either— exported to files and printed, or sent by email;
    — shared with manager online; or
    — shared online as company-wide or team-wide status reports, i.e., all team members share their progress with each other.

How to configure status updates:

Step 1:

  • Create a “Status Update” feed and set up a recurrence.
  • Configure who will write and read status updates by choosing the “Participants” tab and then clicking the “Cog” button near “Feed Participants” title.
how to create status updates status feed

Options:

  • Set the status feed as “Team-wide” if you want all team members to view each other’s status updates.
  • Alternatively, you can allow access to status updates for certain participants only (such as yourself if you’re a team lead). In this case, turn “Team-wide” mode OFF and restrict viewing by unchecking “View” properties for other participants. Team members with the “View” checkbox unchecked will only be able to view their own status updates.
  • If you’re a manager and you don’t plan to share your status updates with your team, uncheck “Update” for yourself – in this case, you won’t receive reminders.
  • The Recurrence setting configures how often participants receive email reminders to fill in their status updates. This feature is optional and can be turned off.
  • You can add, remove, and assign new team members at any time.

Step 2: The text of the status update should be added to the “Update” field of status feed.

how to add an update to status report

As soon as a new status update is added, participants with “View” rights can view it in real time when they log in to their accounts. They will also automatically receive emails with the full text of status updates.

Done!

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