Writing a Health Vision Statement: A Step-by-Step Guide

Vision statements are what you want to see in the future. They are the big picture of where your healthcare company is headed, and how you expect people to be. Mission statements define why your company exists and why it matters, including the problems you intend to solve with your product or service. The mission explains an organization's plan for the present depending on what it wants to achieve.

Some vision statements are long, others are short, some are measurable, others are not. Mission statements that vary by industry, but all must be unique and realistic. Vision statements state where your organization wants to be in the future, framed in an ambitious and forward-looking way. Visions must be creative, ambitious and have a logical connection to the mission.

This is not a road map (that's what your strategy is for), but the destination depending on your mission. Vision statements help organizations make strategic decisions, aligning effort with goals. How can you tell the difference? Mission statements focus more on the outside and tell the world why the company exists. Vision statements can have an external and internal focus, guide employee efforts and strategic decision-making, in addition to conveying the company's grandest ambitions.

In some cases, organizations use their own slightly different definitions of mission and vision, but these statements will always include the company's vision of a better future and a language around what differentiates it from the competition. This is a fundamental first step in defining your strategy. Another way to talk about the concepts of mission and vision is the framework of objective, advantage and scope. These terms are used less frequently than “mission” and “vision” statements, but they can add value when trying to articulate the uniqueness of your organization.

As for time, both mission and vision are the first steps in defining your strategy. You can develop them together or lead them with your mission statement. Why? It's a common mistake to create a vision statement that's too lofty and spongy. If you start with the mission, you'll have a more realistic anchor point for your ideal future state.

Below, we have summarized some missions against examples of vision statements to provide inspiration. But if you're ready to start crafting your own vision statement, check out our step-by-step process as a guide. We have summarized the vision statement, but you can see a clear link to the three principles described in the mission. Notice that the purpose of the mission is to show what the Hampton County government offers, while the vision shows what a prosperous county aspires to.

You can also see that the language does not come from a template, but that it is designed for a small rural county that is already proud of what it has achieved and that wants to emphasize its continuous focus on cooperation, efficiency and service to its citizens. The Toronto vision statement includes four perspectives, all of which most people would consider to be the basic principles of a “great city”, the descriptor used in the mission statement. At a time when urban areas are facing a multitude of challenges, Toronto seems to be using this clear delimitation to guide its strategic priorities for the coming years. Toronto's vision statements are inspiring but achievable; they also clearly reflect the desire to be a place that Torontonians are proud of.

The TCHD is the largest local health department in Colorado and has clearly spent time differentiating its mission from words such as “optimal” and “life expectancy” make it clear that TCHD's vision is broad and ambitious: The organization aspires to achieve its best over decades. The mission then reiterates “a lifetime”, listing the focus of TCHD activities along with the results it wants to achieve. You can see how vision and mission align, and easily imagine how the mission statement could be translated into objectives in a strategic plan. This is one of the most interesting examples of mission statement versus vision statement because it originates in a department of the city and is more specific than the general vision and mission of the city itself.

This is not uncommon as it allows larger cities to reduce focus on missions and visions within specific areas. In case of Houston, The vision is very brief but mentions self-sufficiency which is unique; this last sentence suggests that department is focusing its efforts on programs and services that encourage independence of citizens to achieve safe and healthy outcomes. The mission focuses on partnering with community; deliberate wording suggests cooperation and good will. Both are longer statements but each one serves its different purpose without being repetitive.

The vision statement describes ideal world of Kansas City using ambitious phrases such as “nationally known” and “transformative” while mission statement reflects elements that stand out in vision particularly focusing on customer but also includes how city will achieve its mission focusing on data-based decisions and measurable progress. This is classic example of lofty future focused vision & practical current mission which helps direct strategic decision making. Mayo Clinic is internationally recognized for quality of its care which is reflected in wording of these statements; The mission achieves good balance between aspirational & practical with phrases such as “hope” & “the best care” based on mention of clinic's three operational approaches which will help it achieve objectives while vision manages address both patient experience & reputation of clinic while remaining far reaching & forward thinking. Alliance Health is managed care organization which collaborates with more than 2000 private health care providers helping people recover from mental illness & substance use disorders; Its vision is powerful referring becoming leader & transforming care delivery; It's statement likely inspire employees & help them see value their work & contribution towards achieving goals set by organization.

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