Business & Value, Leadership, Strategy & Decision-making

Vision, mission, strategy: making them real

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in August 2007 ……


Do you have both a vision and a mission statement for your intranet? If so, you’re one of the rare organisations to do so. Most jump straight to what they call “strategy” which may be a mix of the above plus some strategy.

I’ve had occasion recently to hear people throw the words “mission”, “vision” and “strategy” around carelessly, without understanding the differences and how they relate to each other. The purpose of this post is to clarify the differences.

The vision answers the question “What will success be like?”

It is a picture in words of a desirable future state, a description that triggers a strong mental image for each person who hears it. The vision serves to motivate people, on condition that they have participated in defining it, or have integrated it as their own.

A common vision is a pre-requirement for a flexible, win-win approach among the different players involved in building and sustaining a living, dynamic intranet.

An example: “A friend you trust, who is always there to help you do what you have to do.”

The mission statement answers the question “Why are we doing this?”

It is composed of three elements: your objectives, your target user groups, and what you will offer or provide to achieve the objectives .

It can then further broken down into specific services or functions to be offered to each target user group, and priorities can be established for each one. However, this more detailed analysis may fit better in the Strategy document.

An example: Provide the sales force with the sales tools, competitive information and good practices that will enable them to prepare sales calls and close deals faster and better.

The strategy answers the question “How will we do this?”

This document will vary in length depending on the amount of detail included. It will include all or part of the following pieces:

  • Audit and needs analysis based on present situation
  • Study (projection) of what is needed in the future
  • A concept that meets these needs
  • High level project steps and milestones
  • Roles and responsibilities of different members of the organisation
  • Costs (ballpark) for internal and external resources
  • Risk assessment

A strong vision and mission statement will make the strategy much easier to define.