Mission & Vision

April 17, 2012 - By

I used to think of mission and vision statements as feel-good cruft of little value. I never gave them any kind of credit for having merit beyond the types of people who know what the heck “synergy” is.

But recently I’ve had a change of heart, these can have real value to ensure that members of a team or organization are all on the same page and making the right decisions for the right reasons. This is pretty obvious, but what is surprising is I’m finding value in these for myself. Like, a one-man mission and vision statement.

How weird is that?

Recently a coworker (who goes insanely far out of their way to have no presence online, so I won’t name them) pointed out that I kind of already have a mission statement. It started as a jokey thing, and sometimes I’ll use it as a segue to break out of morning office banter: “Time to go make the Internet a better place!“. I like it because it’s grandios and a bit silly; but I do see the work I do as having a real value that makes the internet look, and work better.

I even give this mission a bit of a twist and try to rope colleagues into it; “Hey gang, let’s go make some websites!” I then imagine us all jumping into mid air and freezing while the credits go up (Arley codes in front of a live studio audience).

A vision statement is where you see yourself going. My dev friend Matt loves studying about process and project management and he will incessantly keep referring me to the vision of a project when I start scope creeping. And I love me some scope creeping (Matt calls everything a project, even if that might be raising a kid, or researching what gizmo to buy).

OK, so these aren’t flowery or inspiringly written, but it’s not the words I care about so much as the idea of my own personal mission and vision.

It’s helpful for me to think about mission and vision with regards to where I want to go in my career. I see my career as two parts: 1) my job, and 2) my contribution to this online community of people that make web sites. I am passionate about giving back – there are so many helpful people out there whose work freely given has helped me to grow so much. So when I think of an experiment to sandbox, a post to write, or something else I can do with my spare time that is somewhat career related, I think back to my mission and vision.

It’s surprisingly helpful!



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This post was written by ArleyM