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Here is our family’s mission, vision, and core values:
Mission: To bloom wherever we are planted.
Vision: To bear fruit and multiply.
Core values: C.H.A.N.S.
It is our best version thus far. My wife and I took about four years to write this.
A good mission and vision statement has a clear purpose and principles. They should directly answer the questions, “What do you want to accomplish?” and “How are you going to accomplish them?” And they are written in a manner that is easy to read, understand, and remember.
8 Characteristics Of A Good Mission and Vision Statement
- They are harmonious with one another.
- They are helpful.
- They are practical.
- They are purposeful.
- They are morally correct.
- They are easy to remember.
- They are comprehensible.
- They can be explained in one sentence.
This also applies when writing a statement for your company.
1. They are harmonious with one another.
A vision is something you aim at but do not have direct control over. You strive, but there is no guarantee it will happen.
A mission, on the other hand, is something you have control. It is an action or behavior you can do repeatedly every day.
And lastly, core values are the guiding principles for your mission.
These three should be written in the sense that they complement one another.
To use our statement as an example, what we essentially aim for is to become a family of givers. We hope to empower people through generosity; and inspire them to pay it forward (vision).
It would be awesome if one day we can:
- Pay for (not our own) child’s tuition fee.
- Fully support a missionary.
- Give someone a car.
- Build a house for a family.
- Help an aspiring entrepreneur to start up a business.
- Open a café, not intended for profit but for hospitality and service.
We intend to be a family who gives their time, money, knowledge, and more, so people can achieve their dreams — or to simply live better lives.
But we’re not there yet. As of now what we can only do is:
- Pay for the coffee or parking of the person behind us.
- Volunteer at our local church.
- Send food delivery to a random person celebrating his/her birthday.
While generosity is not based on the amount per se, there is a certain level of it that we should meet to empower someone. We need to do our best in growing whatever we have right now (mission) to reach the degree of generosity we are aiming for. There is no way we can give what we do not have.
To achieve this, we need some guiding principles (core values):
- We have to be content and utilize the resources we have today.
- We need to learn to be humble and understand our role as managers, not owners, of our possessions.
- We should actively seek ways to grow and multiply our assets.
- We must develop the ability to think for ourselves and not merely conform with what is popular.
- We ought to simplify our lifestyle regularly.
I hope you see how the mission, vision, and core values are tied up together to make a good statement.
2. They are helpful.
Being helpful means our mission and vision do not only benefit us. We must also consider how our family, or organization, will affect our community.
Two things we need to identify to be helpful:
- A group of people we want to help.
- An ongoing issue they are currently experiencing.
A group of people we want to help
These are the set of people you tend to care more, or you find yourself most compassionate about.
Here are some of the examples:
|Teen moms||Empty nesters||Orphans|
|Artists||Atheists/Agnostics/Other faiths||Business people|
Based on our mission statement, “to bloom wherever we are planted,” we generally target the people who surround us. They can be our neighbors, colleagues, relatives, families, or friends.
But we tend to care about these groups as well:
- Parents/Single Parents
- Professionals/Business people
- Young married
An ongoing issue
On May 3, 1980, a hit-and-run killed a 13-year-old girl in Fair Oaks, California. The driver was drunk. By September 5, 1980, the broken mother organized a group called Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to resolve the issue of drunk driving.
An ongoing issue is a problem your target group of people is currently experiencing that you wish to alleviate. It could be a cause you are passionate about or something you find heart-breaking.
These examples might help:
|Domestic abuse||Arts||Reaching the lost|
The issues closest to our hearts are:
- Broken families
- Being in debt
Most of these were due to first-hand experiences.
3. They are practical.
Most of the mission and vision statements I have read look impressive, but they are not actually feasible.
A statement needs a couple of things to make it practical:
- An action word.
- A medium to carry out the action.
An action word
It is a simple verb that gives a straight answer to the question: what do you intend to do for your target people?
Here are some ideas:
I’ve read MADD’s mission statement. Here is what they have written: (Emphasis on the action words are mine)
The mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is to END drunk driving, HELP FIGHT drugged driving, SUPPORT the victims of these violent crimes, and PREVENT underage drinking.
As for us, our top action words are:
A medium to carry out the action
A medium is a talent, expertise, or an asset to execute your actions.
The mom of the girl used her ORGANIZING skills and CONNECTIONS to form a non-profit organization to fight drunk driving.
Here are other examples:
|Reshaping mindsets||Manual skills||Finance|
Clearly, for us, it’s Giving. But it is not because we are naturally good at it. It is actually the opposite. I personally think I am a very selfish person. I tend to only do things when they are beneficial to me or my family. Every action I take has a price.
It was tough when Lalaine and I decided to have Generosity as our instrument. I have checked for alternatives, but it seems to be the one that fits perfectly with what we want to achieve as a family.
I am not a natural giver. But thanks to our chosen medium, I am being trained to become one.
If you are having trouble finding your preferred medium from your strengths, you might want to try from where you struggle most.
Read: Dealing with Anxiety
4. They are purposeful.
A good mission and vision statement is intended for a specific outcome.
As of March 30, 2020, MADD has saved around 350,000 lives and helped more than 850,000 victims. In essence, their organization has helped cut drunk driving victims in half. They have done this by calling for a stricter impaired driving policy — whether it is alcohol or any other drug.
In our case, it’s simple. We want to empower people, so they can empower others. That is what we meant in our vision statement: To bear fruit and multiply. It is not as sexy when you think about it, but imagine what it will do to a community when they know how to refresh one another.
It would be nice to have numbers similar to MADD. But the truth is, I am unsure whether we even have one person on our list. Nevertheless, we will continue to do what we have to do as a family.
5. They are morally correct.
Humans are volatile and easily influenced. A good mission and vision statement keep us on the path of righteousness. The problem today, however, is that everyone has their own ideas of what is right and wrong. We are now in a generation where moral standards have been diluted to mere opinions.
I don’t know how most people resolve this matter. But what we did in our family was to surrender our moral views to a higher authority. I am not sure what that means to you. In our case, it means establishing our principles in the Word of God.
Each item in our statement is based on a particular verse in the scripture:
Mission: To bloom wherever we are planted.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” — Matthew 22:37 ESV
Principle: Always give your best wherever you are, whatever you do, with whatever you have. For God’s glory.
Vision: To bear fruit and multiply.
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” — Matthew 25:21 (ESV)
Principle: Our job is to be faithful. Let God take care of the results.
6. They are easy to remember.
Our statements are meant to guide our daily lives. It is only fitting to find ways to make it easy to remember.
Here are some suggestions:
- Be creative. Turn your statements into a poem or even a song.
- Pick a theme to associate it with. In our case, we chose gardening.
- Use an acronym. One of the easiest ways is to use your family’s surname. (E.g. C.H.A.N.S.)
- Keep it short.
7. They are comprehensible.
Good statements are easy to understand. My children’s ages are two and four as of this writing. Another reason we chose the gardening theme is, so that even they can hopefully understand the idea behind our mission and vision.
How to make your statements comprehensible:
- Use simple words.
- Use analogies.
- Remove the fluff.
- Focus on one idea.
- Don’t go too deep.
- Support it with a quote, a verse, or a motto.
- Ask feedback from others.
8. They can be explained in one sentence
Last but not least, you know you have an excellent mission and vision statement if you can tie it all together in one sentence.
Can you complete this line?
“Our purpose is to __________ the __________ from __________ to __________ through the means of __________.”
You can easily fill these blanks once all the elements we’ve discussed since the beginning of this post are present in your statement.
See what I mean:
“Our purpose is to (action word) the (target group of people) from (an ongoing issue) to (the desired outcome) through the means of (the medium).“
Here is what ours looks like:
Our purpose as a family is to (empower) our (neighbors) from (hopelessness) to (enable them to empower others as well), through the means of (generosity).
For MADD, it may look something like this:
Our purpose is to (diminish) the (victims) of (drunk drivers) by (calling for stricter driving policies) through the means of (a non-profit organization).
To be fair, I suppose “good” in this context is subjective. Your idea of a good mission and vision statement may differ from mine. But who cares?
If we can be totally honest, do people really take these things seriously? Most of the time, they only see them as mere decorations on the wall.
How about us fellow fathers and leaders? What is the real intention behind our mission and vision statements? Are we serious about it? Or was it only written, so it could make our organization look “professional”?
I, too, have to reflect on these thoughts. Perhaps in the end,
A good mission and vision statement is something everyone believes and follows.
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Thank you for reading!