Strategic Planning: Create a Vision Statement that’s Beyond What’s Possible Today

By Jim Gribble "The Strat Plan Guy"

Definition of Vision in a DictionaryIf you have any hesitancy in answering the question: “What do you hope to achieve?”, then it would be a good idea to to dedicate some time creating or refining your company’s Vision Statement.

Defining a Good Vision Statement in Strategic Planning

A vision statement is a declaration of your company’s goals for the future — it’s what you hope or dream to accomplish or achieve.

A good vision statement describes your destination, the ‘where you want to get to’. It should become your inspiration and the framework for all your strategic planning — all of your goals and strategies should be focused on making your vision a reality. It should remind you and everyone in your organization of what you are trying to build.

Generally, a vision statement is meant for people within the organization and is not intended for external consumption. Sometimes, however it’s a great idea to share your vision with your customers or the public at-large — especially non-profit organizations.

Vision Statement Checklist

Below is a checklist that should help you to create a good vision statement or evaluate the strength of your current one. Your company’s vision statement should:

1. Inspire and create a clear image of the summit you are striving to reach.

2. Motivate and be specific about the direction you need to move.

3. Be short, include verbs and phrases that are forward-looking, and use future tense.

4. Give everyone in the organization a greater sense of purpose.

Neil Armstrong on the moonTo make your vision statement even more effective, I suggest you be audacious. Make your vision represent a dream that’s even beyond what you think is possible today. When John F. Kennedy stated his vision for the space program in the early sixties — “to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade and bring him back alive” — many people had a hard time imaging that would be possible.

Some believe if you’re not planning for 20 years into the future, you’re being shortsighted, while others feel the world is changing so fast that planning out beyond a few years is not worthwhile. I say, dare to make your vision as far reaching as 50 years — be audacious!

Be sure your vision statement builds on your core competencies — what you’ve already established you can do, your customer base, your strengths and unique capabilities, and assets.

Below are a few well-known vision statement examples:

Macy’s: “Our vision is to operate Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s as dynamic national brands while focusing on the customer offering in each store location.”

Microsoft: “A personal computer in every home running Microsoft software.”

Avon: “To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women — globally.”

All organizations should have a vision statement including non-profits. Here are few examples:

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

Goodwill: “Every person has the opportunity to achieve his/her fullest potential and participate in and contribute to all aspects of life.”

Boy Scouts of America: “To prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Law.”

So what is your ‘dare to dream’ vision statement? Send it to me — I’d love to see what you come up with and will be happy to evaluate it for you.

Next, let’s discuss creating your Mission Statement. I’ll tell you what you need to know and explain how it differs from a vision statement.


jimbutton Strategic Planning Facilitator, Jim Gribble “The Strat Plan Guy”, has decades of experience helping all types of organizations achieve their goals. During the first part of his career he ran profit centers as large as $85 million for leading direct-to-consumer companies. Jim first learned the power of strategic planning in the 80’s as a Product Manager at Xerox. Next, at International Masters Publishers he led a strategic planning effort that guided the company’s growth from $30 million to over $120 million in just four years. As an independent consultant for the past 15 years, Jim has developed strategic plans and marketing programs that have resulted in tremendous success for many clients. You’re invited to learn more about what Jim can do to help your business or organization benefit from effective strategic planning.