Vision statements are typically accompanied by mission and/or value statements.
A visionary statement describes a company’s or organization’s vision for the future. It’s often part of an overall mission statement, defining a primary, important and long term goal. Most vision statement goals belong to one of four categories: target-oriented, common enemy goals, role model goals or internal transformation goals. Beyond these categories, it’s necessary to understand the differences between goals in for-profit ventures and non-profit groups as well.
Target-oriented vision statement goals can be as concrete and specific as sales targets or profit margins, but they can also be more abstract. A clothing company might have a goal to produce designer clothing at a price everyone can afford. While this is something it might not be able to achieve in the first or second year of business, as the company grows and researches new trends and manufacturing techniques, the goal becomes more attainable.
Common Enemy Goals
Centered on competition, common enemy goals are vision statements that can be general or specific in nature. These goals could be rivaling market competition that can potentially displace a company at the top of its field or outselling a competing firm that is locally known. Either of these may be the type of long term aspirations usually seen in a vision statement because a new company has to earn a name in its field before either of these goals is possible, and that takes time.
Role Model Goals
Role model vision statement goals are centered on becoming the leader in a given field, just as another firm is the leader in a different industry. The other firm becomes the “role model” for the company creating the vision statement. A bicycle manufacturer may want to become the “Harley Davidson” of its field, or perhaps it wants to achieve the image and status associated with BMW.
More often associated with companies that have been in business for a while, internal transformation goals aim to change something about a firm’s direction. Perhaps it wants to become the best in its industry in terms of customer service or the greenest, most eco-friendly company in its marketplace.
The vision statement of a for-profit venture includes its direction and future goals. These could be anything, from a quantitative goal, such as sales targets, to a role model goal aimed at another firm in a different market. Generally, larger goals are the ones to aim for–goals that may not be reached in a given year but are nonetheless the direction in which the company wishes to head.
The vision statements of non-profits differ from those of for-profit groups due to the fundamental differences in their goals. The vision statement of a non-profit group focuses on the organization’s vision for the community it serves. These goals can be anything, from providing on-going service to a community to establishing trust. These goals should further explain the direction of the organization; the goal may not be one that is attainable within the next year but one which defines the organization’s vision of the community’s future.