Mission and vision statements provide essential foundations for businesses, and veterinary practices are no exception. Organizations summarize their goals and objectives in mission and vision statements, which are often confused with each other.
A mission statement describes what a firm wants to do now, while a vision statement outlines what an organization wants to become in the future.
A mission statement declares an organization’s specific focus and remains constant over time. A well-written mission statement is a compass that helps keep a practice’s decisions and direction focused on True North. Simply stated, your mission is what you do every day. It’s the fundamental reason for your practice’s existence.
Properly crafted mission statements 1) serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not; 2) clearly state who will be served and how; and 3) communicate a sense of intention to both the organization and the public.
A mission statement generally answers: “WHAT do we do?”, “FOR WHOM do we do it?” and “WHY do we do what we do?” The best mission statements also answer the question “HOW do we bring value to our customers?”
A mission statement is an important part of your practice’s business strategy because it captures the essence of your practice’s philosophy in a few succinct words or sentences. A properly written mission statement announces what your business is all about to your clients, employees and the community. It’s your reason for existing.
Your mission statement should be on display in your practice for clients and employees. Every staff member should be able to clearly communicate the mission of the practice. This public expression of what your practice stands for is valuable for the horse owners with whom you interact every day. It is important that they know who you are as an equine veterinarian, what you believe in and what your values are. It’s the ultimate trust-builder between the horse owner and veterinarian.
A vision statement is a description of what an organization would like to accomplish in the future. It is intended to serve as a clear beacon for plotting future paths of action.
When practice owners articulate the long-term goal to which the practice is aspiring, all staff members then understand what they are trying to achieve.
For team members, understanding the practice’s future dream can give meaning to their hard work.
In order to grow the vision into reality, practice leaders first need to communicate the desired future clearly—then they must encourage new ideas to bring it to fruition. When the entire practice team has a clear understanding of the destination, its members can share in mapping the route. A practice with a shared vision of its future will inspire the team.
Without a clear destination, your practice will struggle to make the changes necessary to grow and improve. A vision helps immensely in the creation of a successful path to the desired end, whether the vision belongs to an organization or an individual.
Many businesses have two vision client experience (external) and one that is focused on the workplace and staff members (internal). An individual also can have a professional and a personal vision statement.
A good vision statement contains the following:
• identifies the destination in a descriptive and inspiring way;
• results in increased commitment, enthusiasm and engagement by all involved in the effort;
• describes an audacious, but attainable, dream; • is exciting and energizing to contemplate;
• is well articulated, focused and easily understood; and
• reflects the organization’s or the individual’s strengths.
This vision is a picture of your practice’s desired future, supported by its mission and values. A vision timeline might occasionally be as short as one year but more commonly is three to five years. A practice might find that the vision changes as the business accomplishes specific goals or there is a need to adjust to a changing market. When writing a vision statement:
• project a specific time in the future;
• dream big, be brave and focus on success;
• use the present or future tense to describe the future;
• use clear, concise language; and
• paint a colorful mental picture of the future you want.
Mission and vision statements are important for clearly stating the goals and objectives of a practice. This essential foundation of a veterinary practice will help you chart your future with confidence.