How to Write a Vision Statement that Works

A good vision statement is a clear portrait of the future. Let's dive into how to create it

July 19, 2022
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The Society of Human Resources Management defines a vision statement as a statement that “looks forward and creates a mental image of the ideal state that the organization wishes to achieve.”

A good vision statement is a clear portrait of the future that is possible should you and your organization execute flawlessly and accomplish all of your goals.

The best mission statements conjure this image of the future to mind in a way that inspires stakeholders to visualize that same future, get excited, and participate in the realization of that future.

Some great examples of inspiring vision statements include:

Teach for America envisions a world where “One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.”

The Alzheimer’s Association envisions “A world without Alzheimer's disease.”

Habitat for Humanity envisions “A world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

At Microsoft’s founding, Bill Gates envisioned a world with "A computer on every desk and in every home."

SpaceX was founded to accelerate a future where “Humans are a multi-planetary species.

These visions of the future are a one where the world is a kinder, brighter, and better place and they are the visions that enable these organizations and leaders to inspire individuals to fund those visions, to donate to those causes, to labor under those banners, and ultimately, to create that envisioned world for their communities.

Your organization, no matter its ambitions can have a vision that inspires and motivates just the same.

How to build a vision of the future?

Take a break from the routine of everyday tasks, goals, projects, and distractions and think for a second. Where is the world headed?

It’s impossible to predict the future, but it is cpossible instead to feel the changing of the currents.

  • What are the trends that are emerging and converging that will shape the future of our world?
  • What are the technologies that will achieve mass adoption?
  • What are the sentiments and movements that will grow and spread across the world?
  • What frontiers will be opened up to exploration?
  • What injustices will we no longer tolerate?

What role can we play in leading and guiding these trends for the benefit of our organizations, our stakeholders, and our communities?

If the future in your mind’s eye feels like it will truly come to pass and it feels like your organization can play a positive role in ushering in that future, you have just found your vision. Now the challenge is in communicating that vision to those around you.

How to share your vision?

For the first time you might be seeing the future with more clarity than you ever have before and you might see the exact path that you must walk to get there. No one else does yet.

Your vision statement is a critical tool in how you make your vision accessible, believable, and viral. Getting it out of your head and into the minds of your collaborators and eventually your customers. Use your vision statement to create a tight, easily digestible packaged version of your vision. Getting this right means making our vision just that much more real and that much more likely.

Your vision statement and how it is received is vision that our investors will fund, that our employees will build, and that our customers will participate in. When we write our statement we need to design it to speak to all of these different stakeholders.

What makes a good vision statement?

There are no hard and fast rules but there are some principles that you can lean on to inform how you draft your vision statement.

A good vision statement is:

Clear - It is a focused picture of what the future looks like or what your organization looks like in the future

Big Picture - It is about more than your offering but rather about what that offering means to the world or to your community

Aspirational - It is a far off goal that can motivate your organization for decades to come and it is the kind of goal that would be worth spending decades on

Stylistically, a good mission statement is:

Tonally Appropriate - The language itself captures the tone of your brand

Concise - Your audience will know in an instant whether you excite them or bore them

Specific - What is the exact future you’re looking to create, what are the specific ways in which your organization fits into that future

How to write a vision statement?

The first step is to build your vision.

Try using our Vision Statement Workshop Template to guide your brainstorming session.

Once your vision is clear, just complete the sentence: “Our organization envisions a world where…”

The vision statement should capture how your customers lives will have changed, how the world will have changed, and how your organization will be leading the charge towards that transformation.

Tips for Writing a Vision Statement that Inspires

  1. Answer the core questions of your business. Reflect on how the world is changing and how your organization is positioned in relation to those trends
  2. Keep it concise and approachable. Don’t scare your readers off with an essay, invite them in with a short, punchy statement that users language they can easily understand.
  3. Keep it believable. This is your time to aim big, but don’t overpromise, an impossible vision that sounds good on paper is worse than a feasible vision that’s a little less sexy
  4. Be specific. Your vision statement is trying to make the future more tangible, the more specific that future, the easier it will be to relate to and to visualize.
  5. Make it a no-brainer. Make your vision the kind of thing that is easy to say yes to. What is the future that your community will benefit from the most? Give them that future and commit to it fully.
  6. Ask your community for feedback. You may be the author of your vision statement, but it is not for you, your vision is what your employees wake up every day to realize. Your vision is what your investors and customers have voted for with their hard won dollars. All of your stakeholders should be represented in the crafting of your vision statement.

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