The vision statement is the north star of your overall company strategy, it is where you want to be as a business in the future. A good vision statement acts as motivation for employees and provides guidance on long-term goal setting.
Wondering why it matters? According to a January 2022 survey by Gartner, 52% of surveyed employees said the pandemic made them question the purpose of their day-to-day job. What can you get from unmotivated employees? Well, probably wasted money and slower business growth. But that’s a story for another day.
Let’s dive into this article, where you’ll discover:
- Why do you need a good vision statement?
- What is a vision statement?
- Mission vs vision statement: What's the difference?
- How to write a company vision statement example
- Quick tips to create your own memorable vision
- 17 vision statement examples from top companies across the globe
- Vision statement template and more inspirational resources
Why do you need a good vision statement?
Do you think a vision statement is just fluff with its only purpose to look good in the “About Us” section on the website?
Well, we beg to differ and so does Ryan Saundry, a General Manager in charge of Strategy & Value Creation at Asahi Beverages. Here’s why he believes a vision statement is crucial for business:
If you look at many of the great examples of super successful companies over the last 10,15 or 20 years, there's one thing they have in common. And that’s a really clear, simple vision their business and people can understand and coalesce behind.
The reason why a good vision statement matters is that the people you are leading want to know your why before they follow you.
If you are a disruptive business, your vision will have to be bigger and more badass than any other. And you need to figure it out to create engagement and followership from your stakeholders and team members.
On top of that, a vision statement plays an important role in the strategic planning process.
Vision statements have a directional role, meaning they guide the organization’s plans and strategies. In other words, vision is your North Star that helps you set strategic initiatives and objectives while keeping the focus on the big picture. That’s why a vision statement should be a part of the company’s every strategic plan.
Bottom line is that people follow leaders with vision. That’s why your company’s vision shouldn’t be just an afterthought. After all, a memorable and engaging vision statement engages your people emotionally, causing them to work around and through obstacles, and inspires change.
What is a Vision Statement?
In short, a vision statement describes the desired future state of a business within a 5-10 year timeframe and guides the direction of the business's efforts. It is essentially the future objectives of a business. The vision statement is also the first step in building a highly-effective business strategic plan.
While this is more of a general definition, let’s dig a bit deeper into it by looking at the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement.
Mission vs Vision Statement: What's the Difference?
If you hear 10 different people talking about mission and vision, you will most likely hear 10 different definitions. Taking a look at some of the websites and social media accounts, it's clear that many people confuse one for another.
But here’s how Anita Stubenrauch, ex-Apple creative veteran, explains why you shouldn’t ignore the difference:
Here’s what’s at stake: if we mistake mission for vision, we just might accomplish what we set out to do — and then stop there.
In other words, mistaking vision for mission might just stop your organization from achieving its true growth potential.
Let’s settle this battle once and for all:
- A vision statement is a long-term, idealistic state of the FUTURE that doesn’t exist yet. It’s an inspiring, rallying cry that invites everyone who believes in it to contribute and become a part of it.
- A company's mission statement is how the company chooses to pursue its vision. It is more specific and relates directly to the company’s products and services.
Let’s take a look at a few examples to illustrate the difference:
Vision statement example:
HYBE’s vision: “To be the world’s top music-based entertainment lifestyle platform company.”
Mission statement example:
Google’s mission statement: “Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Walt Disney’s mission: “The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
So, let’s repeat the key difference. A vision statement is a definition of a company’s future, while a mission statement represents a roadmap that tells what the company will do to achieve its vision.
How to Write a Company Vision Statement Example
Here at Cascade, we've come across a LOT of vision statements while working with clients of all shapes and sizes, helping them execute strategies. Some of these vision statements are good, some are bad, and most come somewhere in between.
And that’s why we outlined a step-by-step process that will help you craft an effective vision statement.
You can check a complete guide here, but here’s a short recap of each step:
Step 1 - The outcome
Start by being exceptionally clear about what it is your organization actually does. Be careful to remain outcome-focused rather than output-focused.
Step 2 - The twist
What’s your unique selling point? Make sure to include it in your vision statement.
Step 3 - The quantification
One of the common problems with a vision statement is too specific. If we return to the basic definition, your vision statement should be a long-term, idealistic state of the FUTURE that doesn’t exist yet. That said - don't be too specific or apply specific metrics at this stage.
You might want to refine your target audience or target market, but avoid adding financial projections or any numbers.
Step 4 - The human connection
One final trick you can apply to help make your vision even more memorable is to add a real-life aspect. This will allow people to conjure up a solid mental image to associate with your vision statement.
Below is a vision statement example we've created using our vision statement formula!
Vision Statement Example:
Our vision is to "produce and sell locally sourced cakes and pies that are so delicious and satisfying, that every customer who leaves our store does so with a smile."
Can you imagine yourself standing in the middle of the bakery surrounded by the smell of fresh pastry and with a smile on your face? I sure did. And that’s the whole point. Your vision should be imaginable and desirable like the one above.
Tips for Creating your Vision Statement
Here are a few things you should consider when start writing down your company’s vision statement:
- They should be short - max 2 sentences
- They need to be specific to your business and describe a unique outcome that only you can provide.
- Use present tense
- Keep it simple enough for people both inside and outside your organization to understand. No technical jargon, buzzwords, or metaphors.
- It should be ambitious enough to be exciting but not too ambitious that it seems unachievable. Here at Cascade, we recommend thinking 5 years into the future.
- Vision needs to align with the company core values that you want your people to exhibit as they perform their work.
Following these tips and best practices should give you a solid starting point for creating a vision statement.
17 Vision Statement Examples From Top Companies
There are many good vision statement examples that have become widely recognized because they have some pretty amazing companies behind them. You should keep in mind that these are just a starting point. There is much more to the creation process of these vision statements than meets the eye.
Let’s look at some popular company vision examples:
Microsoft is one of the most well-known technology companies in the world. Their vision is to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.
This e-commerce giant’s vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
Tesla’s vision is to create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world's transition to electric vehicles. Their mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
This world’s largest furniture retailer’s vision is to create a better everyday life for many people.
Patagonia stands out among companies for consistently aligning its actions with its mission and values. Their mission statement is “We're in business to save our home planet.” However, they don’t have any official release on their vision statement.
LinkedIn’s vision statement is “Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce,” and their mission statement is “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
There is no official release of Starbucks' vision statement, but here's one example of what it could look like: “To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles while we grow."
For inspiration, we are also adding their official mission statement: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Disney's vision statement is “to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information.”
Nike’s vision is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
This multinational fast food chain’s vision statement is “to be the world's best quick service restaurant experience,” and its mission statement is “to make delicious feel-good moments easy for everyone.”
Coca-Cola’s vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit.
Netflix’s vision is “to become the world's leading streaming entertainment service.”
Zoom’s vision is “Video communications empowering people to accomplish more.” Yikes. It could definitely be more memorable and inspiring, right?
Warby Parker’s vision is to be one of the most impactful brands in the world by inspiring the next generations of entrepreneurs and consumers to transform the eyewear and eyecare industry through design and innovation.
Oxfam is a global organization with a vision of a world that is just and sustainable.
Their vision is “To be the world's most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.”
Astellas’s vision is to be on the forefront of healthcare change to run innovative science into VALUE for patients.
This global automotive supplier’s vision is to accelerate profitable growth and enhance our technology offer to become a leader in sustainable mobility and smart life on board. Its mission is to create and deliver high-quality and innovative products which comply with legal constraints and customer's quality requirements.
In this example above, the difference between vision and mission is obvious.
Vision statement template and resources
Feeling inspired to create a good vision statement for your business?
Here’s our collection of resources that will help you to create one:
- Need a bit more inspiration? Download our carefully curated collection of 100 world’s best vision statements sorted by various industries, including:
- Retail vision statement examples
- Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals vision statement examples
- Food & Beverages vision statement examples
- Automotive vision statement examples
- Vision statement examples for Financial Services
- Manufacturing vision statement examples
- Airlines, Aerospace & Defense vision statement examples
- Want to start working on your own vision statement? Look no further and download our vision statement toolkit that includes all resources you need to create an inspiring vision statement. Inside you’ll also find a vision statement template and a special workbook we’re using with our clients to align their vision with company values and company strategic goals.
Or read this in-depth guide on how to write a vision statement with extra tips, best practices, and formulas.
Turn company vision into reality
As Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, said: “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion.”
Every business needs an inspiring vision to spread ideas and make a difference in the world. However, even the greatest vision means nothing without execution.
Do you want to learn how to bridge the gap between vision and execution? Start today for free with the #1 strategy execution platform and get your team moving toward your vision.