“Mission” and “vision:” explore the difference

Understanding the difference between mission and vision is critical to the formation of a goal, group or project.

Sometimes understanding the difference between a mission and a vision is confusing. Are they really different? If so, is there an easy way to differentiate between the two? Let’s try.

Mission is about purpose. Think about the reason someone goes on a mission. A mission answers the question, “What do we do?” A non-profit organization may have a mission to eradicate malaria throughout the world; a soldier may go on a mission to protect a city from an invading army; a high school senior may go a on a mission to purchase a dress or buy a shirt for the prom.

Therefore, the mission or purpose statement for each of the above situations would be:

  • Non-profit organization: To eradicate malaria throughout the world
  • Soldier: To protect a city from invaders
  • High school senior: To purchase prom attire

On the other hand, visionis about future. It expands the purpose, eliciting aspirations, hopes and dreams. A vision answers the question, “If wildly successful, what is the overall result of our mission?”

Vision statements for the above examples might be:

  • Non-profit organization: Malaria no longer exists in the world
  • Soldier: A city that can stand alone against invaders
  • High school senior: Star appeal and complete confidence at the prom

There is a difference between mission and vision statements. Mission is about purpose – what do we do? Vision is about the future – what is the overall result of our mission? Simple as that!