What should I know about missionary work

Vision and missionWhat vision and mission do in the company

The vision, mission and guiding principles convey meaning to employees and customers

Every company can only be successful in the long term if the employees identify with the company. You want to know what your company stands for and what the purpose of your work is. You want to contribute to positive goals, make independent decisions and act independently. This is the basis for the emotional bond with the company, from which the commitment of the employees is derived.

A company's strategies, plans and measures will change again and again. Good managers regularly adapt these to the framework conditions, customer requirements, markets and competition. You want to use the opportunities that are currently emerging and limit risks. You are flexible. However, they are always based on the essence of the company. It is a reliable constant for a long time.

Vision as the essence of a company

As early as the 1990s, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras, in an article for Harvard Business Review based on many company examples, worked out that the fundamental beliefs and values ​​as well as the actual purpose of a company, what defines it essentially, is the core are. It is not so important what constitutes this essence.

Some put innovation at the forefront, for others customer service is sacred. For others, it is primarily a question of treating employees fairly or good teamwork. There is no right or wrong essence - at least not from a business point of view. In their investigations, Collins and Porras have found that the only thing that matters is that there is what you call a “core ideology” in the company that is relevant for everyone.

The values ​​and the essence are in the company and in its history. Mostly it is the founders who have laid the foundation from which the corporate vision then grows. Managing directors or managers can sometimes influence the values ​​of a company, they can help them to more or less validity if they have been active in the company for a while and are accordingly active.

But where does the essence come from? For an answer you should consider the following aspects:

  • Check your range of services. What do you offer the customer? This not only includes the products, but above all the service and customer orientation. What makes this special? What is particularly important to you?
  • Review your projects. Which projects have a particularly high priority in the company - among the employees and the management? Which ones are usually endowed with a lot of resources, money, time and attention from the promoters? Why are these projects so important to the company?
  • Talk to your employees. What is particularly important to you? What do you keep referring to in your argumentation and in your presentations? What do they put in the foreground? Why do you advertise the company to families, friends, partners and customers? What do the employees think that makes their company so unique?

Vision gives employees orientation - even in times of crisis

A good vision of a company can create this identification and the necessary framework for orientation. A good corporate vision expresses:

  • Why are we doing what we are doing today?
  • Where do we want to be in five to ten years?
  • What would always be important to us in an economic crisis situation?
  • What values ​​would we pursue even if the company was exposed to turbulent times?
  • What would we hold high even if it was an (apparent) disadvantage in competition?

The vision of a company describes an ideal state in the future that the company would like to achieve. It is an important component of corporate management because it makes it clear to all employees what it is about in a concise and clear formulation. The company's vision can also include and name individual elements on the way to this ideal situation. The most important corporate goals and corporate strategies can be derived from the corporate vision.

Mission is aimed at customers

A company's mission is closely related to this. It is not aimed at the employees, but at the customers. They should also know what the company stands for - according to its own standards - and what it wants to be for its customers. A good mission takes up values ​​that are important to customers and with which customers can identify. The mission expresses:

  • How do we want to be seen by our customers?
  • Why should the customer trust us and be loyal?

A company's mission describes the essential purpose or mandate that the company pursues. It says why the company or an organizational unit exists and what the company wants to be for its stakeholders, for customers, owners, employees or partners.

But: It is very difficult to formulate a really good corporate vision or mission. Because the company and its managers must convince employees, customers and other interest groups, or better still: inspire and inspire them! A vision only works if the majority of employees are committed to it, because they feel connected to the goals behind it.

Foundations for the corporate vision and mission

Corporate goals

A company's vision and mission are more than just a summary of the company's most important goals. But they have a lot to do with each other. In this respect, the vision and mission result from the fundamental corporate goals. They have to be in harmony and match one another. Often the goals are only derived from the vision and mission. Ultimately, these three “core components” of corporate management are jointly developed, formulated and coordinated with one another. If they are consistent, then the company's vision, mission and goals are credible.


Credibility is the most important principle for a mission and corporate vision. It arises because

  • the employees are involved in the formulation,
  • the mission and vision are constantly communicated and
  • are exemplified by the executives,
  • Goals and everyday actions match the corporate vision and mission.

Reality reference

In order to develop a coherent vision or mission, the company should be open. Freedom for creativity and spontaneity is required. At the same time, the management's experience with the business and the organizational culture play an important role. Vision and mission are not just thought out, but are derived from reality and what is “available” in the company. After all, a corporate vision is not something abstract, but has a direct reference to reality.

Examples of a corporate vision or mission

  • Groundbreaking innovations to be at the forefront. This is the philosophy that has made Pirelli a world leader in the industry. We continuously test new boundaries in terms of technology, style and sustainability and set global trends. (Pirelli)
  • We support and empower our employees according to their tasks and responsibilities. In return, we expect a high level of commitment and performance from our employees. We rely on constructive feedback, targeted teamwork and promote a culture of trust. (ZF Friedrichshafen)
  • Chemistry that connects - for a sustainable future. We combine economic success, social responsibility and environmental protection. With research and innovation, we help our customers meet the needs of society today and in the future. (BASF)
  • Trumpf is a leading global technology company and stands for quality, outstanding products, highly efficient processes and excellent results. The success of this company is based on the fact that we live shared values ​​and strive for common goals. We are a family business. The willingness to fully commit to the company in good and bad times applies equally to everyone working in the company. Economic independence is our top priority. (Trump card)
  • We bring over 1.26 million people and 210,000 tons of goods to their destinations every day. But we are more than just the railways: 33,000 passionate employees make us the backbone of public transport and work with us on our vision for the mobility of the future. (SBB)
  • We encourage our employees to expand their professional and personal development. We encourage everyone to express their individuality and implement their ideas. Our design teams and our partners are constantly finding better ways to produce in a more environmentally friendly way. We want to (r) evolve “smart” furniture. (Logic data)

Mission statements are a vision for special purposes

There can also be a “partial vision” for individual programs, campaigns or measures in a company. It is also called the mission statement. Such measures can be:

  • Development of a new product
  • Introduction of a new technology
  • Reorganization of the structures and processes in your company

The mission statement clarifies the meaning and the interaction of the individual measures associated with it. It should "orchestrate" the actions of all employees. Like a conductor, it creates a coherent picture of the actions of the musicians (your employees). Mission statements usually create the connection between vision and day-to-day business. They give concrete instructions for action, show benefits for the work and create a uniform self-image.

Risks in formulating corporate vision and mission

Working with a corporate vision or mission can also fail. On the one hand, the chosen formulation may not be a good one. Then the vision has no effect on the employees and the mission is not understandable or comprehensible for the customers. On the other hand, a well-formulated vision or mission can also have negative effects. Namely:

No practical relevance
The problem is that the terms vision and mission are often used inflationarily and are just fashionable terms in companies. The management formulates nebulous, grandiose sentences that everyone in the company knows how little serious they can be. In the event of the smallest crisis, these “dreams” collapse. They have no practical relevance.

Micropolitics and Executives
Vision and mission can be undermined by micro-politics in the company and by incorrect behavior by managers. It can get to the point that it is ignored or even made ridiculous. Some consider this instrument to be completely unsuitable because it is difficult to distinguish between good and bad corporate visions or missions.

Success factors for the development of corporate vision and mission

Reality reference
A vision or mission will only work if it is developed in close collaboration with your people. This increases the likelihood that a reference to reality will be created and it will become clear what both mean in everyday life.

Developing a vision and mission takes time. They have to be found, worked out and they have to prove themselves in everyday life. The company management must invest this time.

Development is a process
It is helpful when the first suggestions come from the management. A project team can drive the process forward. And the employees can get involved and openly discuss the content until the vision and mission are formulated by the management.

If you want to create a corporate vision or (re) fill it with life, then you have to consider the following aspects in this process:

  • Do you discover and recognize what the central values, the basic principles and the actual purpose are for you personally and for your company?
  • Communicate this to all employees at every opportunity. Make it clear through both language and action how important it is to you.
  • Communicate this to the outside world - to customers or applicants and prove that you are willing to pursue these values, no matter what.
  • Remember, however, that the purpose of the values ​​is primarily to inspire and motivate employees; they are not there to differentiate themselves from competitors.

The management thought leader Knut Bleicher sums up the success factors for the development of a corporate vision and mission very well: “Vision-finding is about developing an idea that supports the company's history in an evolutionary manner in the field of tension between desire and reality over time through learning adaptation. Visions cannot be made, you have to let them develop. This process must never end. "

Stocktaking company vision

  • Does your company have a vision, mission or guiding principles? What are they? In what form are they presented?
  • Check the corporate vision and the wording: Is it ambitious, courageous, bold, clear, unambiguous, inspiring, thrilling, focused on one aspect, provided with a time perspective, understandable without further explanation and explanation?
  • How are the company vision, mission and guiding principles communicated to employees?
  • To what extent does the behavior of managers and other employees match the vision, mission and the guiding principles? How do the vision, mission and guiding principles show up in everyday life?

Inventory mission

  • What values, principles, goals and strategies do you state to customers and employees on your website or on the intranet?
  • How are these "lived"? Rate this on a scale from 1 (not at all) to 10 (all employees know them and use them in their everyday lives).


  • Have you heard a good mission or corporate vision from other companies?
  • What are these? (Gather good examples)
  • Why did this formulation of the mission or vision convince you?