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50+ Vision Statement Examples from High-Performing Organizations

Establishing good vision in an organization is the key to sharpening focus. A statement of vision says, “here’s our direction, here’s where we’re going, and here’s how we’re going to change the world.” This tool defines a successful vision and provides examples of good vision statements. (Updated for 2020)

Successful Vision

Vision is not simply a slogan without substance or context. A vision statement is more than abstract words with no ability to guide tough decisions. Vision enables tough decisions to be made. It builds trust. It attracts talented people to the organization.

Successful vision should:

  • Inspire and energize.
  • Be hopeful and positive.
  • Be clear.
  • Guide decision-making and the allocation of resources.
  • Create consistency in the organization.

The Two Components of Vision Statements

A vision statement has two components. The external vision is a vision of the ultimate benefits and outcomes you want to achieve. This can be a healthier society, a secure future, an improved environment, or a mobile society.

The second component is an internal vision of change. This is a vision of the future for your organization. This can mean a world-class money manager or the best-known brand in the world.

The vision statement for your organization should encompass both internal and external components. It should be sufficiently detailed and focused and give the reader a clear idea of what future success looks like.

Vision needs to be linked to a clear understanding of the strengths and assets of the organization along with the opportunities in the marketplace. Often it means a dramatic shift in focus and direction. Occasionally it requires a full-scale revamping of the company’s business model. Typically, it takes months to develop a fully-understood and fully-realized vision.

Vision is the third ring in the Six Rings Planning Model.

vision statement examples


Vision Statement Examples

Sony, 1950s (excerpt):
Fifty years from now, our brand name will be as well-known as any on Earth. And it will signify innovation and quality that rivals the most innovative companies anywhere. “Made in Japan” will mean something fine, not shoddy.

Sony, today:
To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.

Citibank, 1970s:
Our vision is to become the most powerful, the most serviceable, the most far-reaching world financial institution that has ever been.

General Electric, 1980s:
Our vision is to become #1 or #2 in every market we serve and revolutionize this company to have the speed and agility of small enterprise.

Southwest Airlines, early on:
To make air travel cheaper and more convenient than auto travel.

Southwest Airlines, today:
To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.

Curves:
To make it affordable and easy for women to be physically fit.

HSBC Bank:
To be the world’s local bank.

Amazon:
To be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

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

Kraft Foods:
Helping people around the world eat and live better.

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.

Wal-Mart:
To be the worldwide leader in retail.

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

The Walt Disney Corporation:
To make people happy.

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

Nike:
Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.
* If you have a body, you are an athlete.

Apple:
To produce high-quality, low cost, easy to use products that incorporate high technology for the individual.

Giro Sport Design:
To make sure that riding is the best part of a great life.

Tesla:
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Facebook:
To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

Ford:
People working together as a lean, global enterprise to make people’s lives better through automotive and mobility leadership.

Heinz:
To be the world’s premier food company, offering nutritious, superior tasting foods to people everywhere.

Competitor-Based Vision Statements

A trend in the past (as noted by Kirstin O’Donovan at LifeHack.com) used to be to craft vision statements based on a competitor. A few popular examples are:

Honda, 1970s:
We will destroy Yamaha.

Nike, 1960s:
Crush Adidas.

Philip Morris, 1950s:
Knock off RJR as the number one tobacco company in the world.

Kirstin also mentions another type of vision statement for startups:

Role-Model Vision Statements:

Stanford University – in the past:
To become the Harvard of the West.

Reach for Success – in the past:
To become the next Tony Robbins in self-development.

Non-Profit Vision Statement Examples

Here are some non-profit vision statement examples compiled by TopNonprofits.com:

Human Rights Campaign:
Equality for everyone.

Feeding America:
A hunger-free America.

Alzheimer’s Association:
A world without Alzheimer’s.

Oxfam:
A just world without poverty.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society:
A World Free of MS

The Nature Conservancy:
To leave a sustainable world for future generations.

Make-A-Wish:
That people everywhere will share the power of a wish.

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

San Diego Zoo:
To become a world leader at connecting people to wildlife and conservation.

NPR:
NPR, with its network of independent member stations, is America’s pre-eminent news institution.

Ducks Unlimited:
Ducks Unlimited is wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

Oceana:
Oceana seeks to make our oceans as rich, healthy and abundant as they once were.

In Touch Ministries:
Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people in every country of the world.

Cleveland Clinic:
Striving to be the world’s leader in patient experience, clinical outcomes, research and education.

Save the Children:
A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development, and participation.

Teach for America:
One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.

Smithsonian:
Shaping the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world.

ASPCA:
That the United States is a humane community in which all animals are treated with respect and kindness.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:
Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

World Vision:
For every child, life in all its fullness; Our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so.

Clinton Foundation:
To implement sustainable programs that improve access worldwide to investment, opportunity, and lifesaving services now and for future generations.

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.

WWF:
We seek to save a planet, a world of life. Reconciling the needs of human beings and the needs of others that share the Earth…

Kiva:
We envision a world where all people – even in the most remote areas of the globe – hold the power to create opportunity for themselves and others.

Amnesty International:
A world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.

charity: water:
Charity: water believes that we can end the water crisis in our lifetime by ensuring that every person on the planet has access to life’s most basic need — clean drinking water.

Special Olympics:
To transform communities by inspiring people throughout the world to open their minds, accept and include people with intellectual disabilities and thereby anyone who is perceived as different.

Creative Commons:
Nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.

VFW:
Ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country.

Mission Statements vs. Vision Statements

The mission statement is “every day,” and the vision statement is the “someday.” (Source: ChamberMaster.com)

Here are a few examples to illustrate the differences:

Sony

Mission Statement:
A company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.

Vision Statement:
Using our unlimited passion for technology, content and services to deliver groundbreaking new excitement and entertainment, as only Sony can.

Southwest Airlines

Mission statement:
The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.

Vision statement:
To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.

Facebook

Mission statement:
To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

Vision statement:
People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

McDonalds

Mission statement:
To be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink.

Vision statement:
To move with velocity to drive profitable growth and become an even better McDonald’s serving more customers delicious food each day around the world.

Wal-Mart

Mission statement:
To be the worldwide leader in retail.

Vision statement:
To give customers a wide assortment of their favorite products, Every Day Low Prices, guaranteed satisfaction, friendly service, convenient hours (24 hours, 7 days a week) and a great online shopping experience.

Coca Cola

Mission statement:
Refresh the world. Make a difference.

Vision statement:
Our vision is to craft the brands and choice of drinks that people love, to refresh them in body & spirit. And done in ways that create a more sustainable business and better shared future that makes a difference in people’s lives, communities and our planet.


Developing a Vision Statement

This tool is used to develop a vision statement – a clear picture of where the organization wants to be in the future. It helps leaders identify the vision “drivers” of the organization. [Purchase the PDF license]

Vision Statement Definition

A vision statement gives people a clear picture of what the organization is aiming for in a finite period of time – typically ten years or less. It needs to be sufficiently visionary to sustain peoples’ energies and dreams. It should be sufficiently concrete that it results in clarity, not confusion, about goals and objectives. The vision statement is always rooted in the organization’s purpose and values.

The Process

Appoint members of a team to develop the vision statement. This should include the senior officers of the organization. Members of the planning team should complete the homework assignment on the following pages and discuss their results. The agenda below can be used to guide the planning meeting.

Agenda for Planning Meeting

  • A. Introduction: Review the agenda. Establish ground rules for the discussion.
  • B. Ask members of the planning team to share their answers to the first six questions of the homework assignment. As each question is discussed, probe for areas of
    agreement and disagreement. Highlight the key agreements and underlying differences, but don’t try to resolve any conflicts until you complete every question.
  • C. Draft visions: Ask each person to work with another person (or by themselves if the group is small) to prepare a flip chart of their newspaper story. Ask them to include the headline and the key story elements. When they are done, ask each group to present their newspaper article to the larger team. Be sure to post them on a wall.
  • D. Metrics: Ask the group to share their metrics. Highlight the common elements.
  • E. Perceived conflicts: Ask people to share any perceived conflicts. Highlight areas of perceived conflict that are shared.
  • F. Have people work in groups of two to draft proposed vision statements. Share and discuss.
  • G. Decide on next steps. This may be further refinement by a smaller drafting team, or communication of the draft vision(s) to a wider group for feedback.

Homework Assignment

Please think about and answer (in writing) the following questions. Be prepared to share your answers and your thinking – i.e., how you derived your answers – with the planning team. Feel free to provide additional information or thinking. Don’t feel constrained by the assignment. Rather, use it as a jumping off point.

The Questions

  1. What are the essential ways in which the organization generates value? What is its business model? How do you think the business model will change during the next ten years?
  2. How does the organization measure success today? How will the ways it measures success change?
  3. What are your customer segments today? How do you think your customer
    segments will change during the next ten years?
  4. How will the things that differentiate you from your competition change during the next ten years?
  5. What other changes may have a significant impact on your future?
  6. Based on your responses, what do you think will be the most important changes for your organization during the next ten years within your control?
  7. What do you think will be the most important changes outside your control?
  8. What is your vision for the organization? Within the realm of reality, imagine the best possible scenario for your organization in ten years. To help you articulate it, imagine you are reading a newspaper ten from now. A front-page story is covering the major successes that your organization has achieved. What does the story say? What does the headline read? What key milestones or achievements are cited in the story?
  9. If you have ideas about how to measure success in achieving your vision, write them down here.
  10. Your thinking may have triggered some concerns about conflicts between your proposed vision and the organization’s current goals and direction. Please list any perceived conflicts.

Two Key Steps to Developing a Vision Statement

Pick a Time Horizon

The first step is always to decide on a time horizon. For some organizations, vision spans a ten-to-fifteen year period. But in others, a shorter horizon – three years – is just fine. At Teradyne, a fast-moving maker of software that monitors web performance, the time horizon was one year. Why? Because the software industry was moving so quickly its CEO didn’t see any value in planning beyond a 12-month time horizon.

Map the Strategy

Once you decide on a time horizon, the planning team needs to meet and have initial discussions about vision. Ask people to think about these questions in advance. (For this example, I’m assuming a typical time horizon of three years.)

  1. What are our strengths as an organization? What do we do exceedingly well?
  2. What are our weaknesses? Where do we consistently fall down?
  3. What are our opportunities? What’s new that we could be capitalizing on?
  4. What are the challenges? What alternatives to our products and services do our customers have? How are those alternatives changing?
  5. Who are our primary customers? Who are the people for whom we are trying to create the most value?
  6. What trends are affecting our customers? How might their perceptions of the value of our products and services change over the next three years?
  7. Are we focusing on the right customers? What would happen if we shifted our customer focus? What could we do more of (or less of) to create increased value for our customers?
  8. What is our current business model? how do we create value for customers? how does that translate into profitability?
  9. What might be some essential innovations in our way of doing business that would create added value for our customers? how could we re-define our way of doing business?
  10. Based on the above, what should be our external vision? What outcomes are we trying to achieve in three years? What are the rationales for that vision?
  11. Based on the above, what is our internal vision – how do we envision our organization changing over the next three years to support the external vision?
  12. What do we see as the major priorities for change and investment to realize this vision?

Once everyone has discussed these questions, you can create a map, laying out the components of your emerging vision. Plotting them on paper enables people to visualize the emerging vision.

Related Tool: Streamlined Strategic Planning

LRI’s expert consultants assure you and your organization are thinking and acting strategically. Here are the specific ways we can help you: https://leading-resources.com/consulting/strategicplanning/

Eric Douglas

Eric Douglas

Eric Douglas is the senior partner and founder of Leading Resources Inc., a consulting firm that focuses on developing high-performing organizations. For more than 20 years, Eric has successfully helped a wide array of government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and corporations achieve breakthroughs in performance. His new book The Leadership Equation helps leaders achieve strategic clarity, manage change effectively, and build a leadership culture.

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