There are so many terms for all the things we do when we plan. When we plan, we look into the future, not in the crystal ball sense, but in the ‘where am I going’ sense. We make plans to help us get from A to B, to move forward, to help us achieve things and have a sense of direction. Some people plan more than others but often even people to appear to be “winging it” have spent time working out what they are going to say or do.

There are a whole load of semantics around planning, mapping, plotting – a sort of coded vocabulary that is easy to understand when you know what it is, but easily mixed up and misunderstood when you don’t. How can you plan with someone else when one person is talking about a vision and the other an objective, another a goal and someone else a mission. They are different things. So maybe it’s helpful to try to demystify some of them.

Today, let’s start with vision……


This is not about having an apparition, but about envisaging where you want to be, or what you want yourself (or organisation or venture) to be like.

This is a positive picture of the future.

Some examples of vision statements are:

Oxfam: A just world without poverty.

IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.

Disney: To make people happy.

Kelloggs: To enrich and delight the world through foods and brands that matter.

Vision statements describe what the future will look like from the organisation’s point of view, in a positive light as this is what the company or organisation hopes and believes they will achieve. It pinpoints a snapshot of the future.

A way to consider a vision is thinking about a newspaper article ont your organisation, at a fixed time in the future when you have achieved all that you want to achieve. What will that newspaper article say the world is like, when you have achieved what you set out to do? Is everybody happy because Disney has created lots of happy people, is the world poverty free because Oxfam has worked tirelessly to make this happen, is life simply better for most people because of IKEA furniture, and is the world enriched and delighted because of Kellogg’s food?

You may say they are not that realistic, but in a sense that doesn’t matter. A vision is an aspiration, an inspiration and something to look forward to and focus on. It describes an ideal and it is something for the organisation to head towards.

It is actually a different thing from a mission which we will deal with next week……



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