I wrote the below a while back as part of building a framework of common purpose in my group at work. At my new job I've found the same thing useful to contextualize the business and the decisions we're making. It helps to have a logically consistent line of thought all the way from the big picture to the quotidian.
A Mission is what an organization is all about; what we do every day, and what we excel at. Think of it as answering the questions "what do we do, for whom, and why?". It defines our role at the highest level and describes the areas which are pre-ordained for us.
A Vision, on the other hand, describes what the future will look like when we achieve our Mission. It's what will happen because we execute so superbly on our Mission. "A PC on every desk", Microsoft's early vision statement, is archetypal.
Traditionally, one's Mission would be derived from one's Vision. Once you've decided what you want the future to look like (the Vision), you pick the Mission which will get you there.
Putting this all in perspective,
- Vision dictates Mission
- ...which determines Strategy
- ...which surfaces Goals
- ...that frame Objectives
- ...which in turn drive the Tactics
- ...to deliver Key Results
Here's a picture from my commute the other day: