Vision & Mission – what’s the difference?

By Altitude Advisory |

Q: Aren’t a vision and a mission the same thing? And do I even need them? 

A: No! and yes!

Recently working with a client who had a new business idea, we were discussing the importance of setting a vision and mission to direct his focus.

The client had already clearly defined his vision but under the ‘mission’ heading it read “as above”.

It’s not quite that simple!

A common cause for confusion, we were able to explain to our client that both statements play a unique role and both are crucial to developing a successful business.

Try this explanation:



Your vision statement reflects your ideal future.

“To be the most successful and respected car company in America.” – Toyota USA

This statement becomes your North star. Every fork in the road, a question asked and opportunity faced can be directed back to the vision.

It can be used to measure success or failure.

When faced with uncertainty, ask yourself “Is this helping me to achieve my vision?” If the answer is “no” then it makes the decision simple. If the answer is “yes” then move ahead and perform your due diligence.

Without a clear vision, it will be extremely difficult to prepare a strategic plan.



Your mission statement focuses on today and why the organisation does what it does.

“Our mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.” – Microsoft

This statement becomes the basis for the way you act, recruit, train, negotiate… it is the foundation for the culture of your business. The mission should be lived every day by senior management to ensure it is imitated by the rest of the team.

By building a team who believe in the mission, you are one step closer to building a high-performing, highly-motivated team!


When used well, your vision and mission clearly express the desires of ownership to all levels of the organisation (and quite often, to those outside its walls).

If you find yourself looking for direction, have difficulty planning ahead, or simply cannot figure out what your vision or mission is, then talk to us, or come and see us – we would love to help!

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