The role of vision in an organisation’s success

The role of vision in an organisation’s success

Research has found that organisations that have coherent and meaningful mission and vision statements provide more than double the return in shareholder benefits when compared to organisations that do not have vision and mission statements, provided that there is an alignment between the mission and vision with the strategy, goals and objectives of the organisation.
A mission is defined as the purpose for being in existence or why you are in business and usually remains unchanged for a long time if it is well crafted, whereas a vision describes the desired future state of an organisation, that is, what will be achieved if the organisation is successful and is therefore more specific in terms of both the future state and the time frame of achieving that vision.

The mission and vision are mostly communicated through the mission and vision statement.
A mission statement is supposed to communicate why the organisation exists or the organisation’s reason for being there, and in this statement it explains how it aims to serve its key stakeholders, mainly customers, employees, investors, government or communities.

The mission statements would also include values of an organisation. Values are the beliefs of an organisation which act as guiding principles in the organisation’s operations. For instance some of Toyota’s corporate guiding principles or values are to:

l Honour the language and spirit of the law of every nation and undertake open and fair corporate activities to be a good corporate citizen of the world.
l Respect the culture and customs of every nation and contribute to economic and social development through corporate activities in the communities.
l Dedicate ourselves to providing clean and safe products and to enhancing the quality of life everywhere through all our activities.
l Foster a corporate culture that enhances individual creativity and teamwork value, while honouring mutual trust and respect between labour and management. (Toyota, 2008).
These values will therefore remain unchanged for some time.

A vision statement, on the other hand declares the organisation’s purpose and aspirations-that is what the organisation wants to become.
The vision should therefore flow from the mission and then the organisation’s strategy will flow directly from the vision. This alignment is very important because the whole idea of a strategy is to achieve the organisation’s mission.

The mission and vision statements help in achieving the following:
l Communicating the purpose of the organisation to its stakeholders,
l Aiding in strategy development,
l Helping in the development of measurable goals and objectives by which to assess the success of the organisation’s strategy.

There are a number of benefits that accrue from having a well-articulated vision and mission statement.
The vision and mission statement provide unanimity of purpose to organisations and therefore motivate employees to move in unison.
The statement spells out the context in which the organisation operates and provides to the employees how the organisation intends to meet its goals as spelt out in the vision, thereby helping in strategy development.

The vision and mission statement serves as a reference point when managers make decisions.
The vision and mission statement provides a philosophy of existence to the employees, what the organisation believes in.
A vision and mission statement should ideally help the organisation stay on track and be able to be used in assessing its own performance.
However there is criticism that some organisations fail to benefit from a vision and mission statement. The causes of why organisations are not deriving benefit from their mission statements is because:

Some vision and mission statements are full of business jargon which do not convey the meaning to its stakeholders let alone its employees.
It’s critical that a vision statement be easy for everyone in the company to understand so that they have the same vision and mission and work together to achieve it.
Ineffective vision and mission statements are usually those that are
internally focussed mainly looking at profits instead of describing how it will impact the community.
Employees want to feel that they are part of something bigger than the organisation.

They want to feel that what they are doing helps in changing people’s lives for the better.
If a vision and mission statement is not specific it will not inspire employees to achieve the desired goals.
A vision statement should not be too generalized because it will not give direction to the organisation.

A vision statement needs to be unique to that particular company and not be the same as a competitor’s.
Some companies have well written vision and mission statements but however they only adorn the managers’ shelves and are not implemented.
In such a case the statement will not be a guiding light for the organisation. A vision and mission statement should drive the company’s day-to-day business and decisions if it has to be effective.
Jack Welch said “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” You need to work on your vision and mission for it to help you achieve success.

Stewart Jakarasi is a business & financial strategist and a lecturer in business strategy and performance management.
He provides advisory and guidance on leadership, strategy and execution, preparation of business plans and on how to build and sustain high-performing organisations.

l For assistance in implementing concepts discussed in these articles please contact him on the following contacts:
sjakarasi@gmail.com or +266 58881062 or on WhatsApp +266 62110062

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