Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Mission and Vision

Let’s Talk

Creating Mission Statements and ‘Vision Casting’ are both very IN! 
LOOK  around, everyone’s ‘doing’ it!! 

When I was writing an article on this topic a year ago, I kept coming across material with this theme in various publications I read regularly.  The following examples, and others I came across, indicated to me that many different kinds of folks with different kinds of needs ‘out there’ are involved in these important steps.  I’m sure if you google ‘mission’ or ‘vision’ statements, or read your local paper, or browse through any news publication, or look in your favorite bookstore, you too will find evidence of this:

** Vision casting (which includes taking inventory, hunting for meaning, experimenting with
     and creatively attacking your life’s challenges, branding) contributes to keeping a person
     active and healthy mentally, physically, emotionally while helping them (in whatever ‘next
     steps’ their life needs to take)
     (Source: AARP, The Magazine, Aug’10 article on self-reintroduction and self-reinvention)

** When we face a huge transition, it’s good to step aside and look at what’s helped us thru life
    that point - applying that can lead to vision casting for our future endeavors
    (source: NewsPress, Ft Myers, FL daily newspaper, 8/15/10 article on a long time
    award-winning employee who consistently valued inventiveness, self-improvement and hard

** Vision casting can help us to be “happy in the skin we are in” while recognizing the wonder
     of the world around us
    (Source: a new book advertised in one of my favorite catalogues,
        An Altar in the World: a Geography of Faith)

From any perspective, in the grand scheme of any endeavor:
It’s important to know what we want to see happen to be able to plan strategically and
     effectively for what we’ll be doing. That’s Mission and Vision!

One disclaimer:
There is for some a fine line between "Mission" and "Vision".  Many organizations and individuals use one, or the other, to cover both.  I prefer to make the distinction and offer you the following from that preference.  The important thing is you cover both in whatever approach you choose!

Please share your comments below.
The Task

Okay, so, let’s work through this in our own context.
What is a Mission Statement and what is a Vision Statement?  What’s the difference?
The Mission Statement is a brief statement about what we plan to do.
The Vision Statement is a brief statement about what we will see happen in the process or as a result of what we plan to do.

Mission and Vision Statements can occur at many levels in our lives:
* personal ones which we have formulated
* work-related ones which we are obliged to follow
* family or community ones we choose to enter into at various stages for various time periods

For the purposes of becoming effective cross-cultural communicators, let’s narrow down these possibilities to one specific project plan we want to design and implement.

When should these be defined?
1.  Defining our mission and casting our vision should be done at the very beginning of our
     project, before we spend time trying to move forward.
AND/OR (if we've already started) it should be done in the midst of transition, to review and possibly revise the direction in which we are headed.

2. As the project gets underway, the Mission and Vision should be revisited regularly and revised
    as necessary:
a)      based on the progress we are making, changes in our resources or situation, etc
    b)   preferably with someone else, or a team of colleagues, family, friends so we can get a
          wider and sometimes more objective perspective

IF this defining and revising process is used, our Mission and our Vision will be and will remain clear, informing our decisions and keeping us on track.

Please share your comments below.
Some Tools

1. Creating a Mission Statement for my cross-cultural communication project:
Using any strategic planning documents already available, answer the following questions which are tied here into 3D dynamics:
HOME: At what level am I working on this mission? (personally, with a team, etc)? 
     This should be reflected in the wording of your statement. 
     For example: “Our mission as the X Team is to …”
HOST:  What is the context of my project?  State it clearly.
     For example: “My mission is to impact the lives of (my Host community) through…”
HARBOR: What is it that I want to see in place at the end of this project?
     This is the core of my statement – keep it simple and brief.
     For example: “I will integrate into and work effectively and sustainably with my Host community”.

Longer term: Revisit my statement regularly to keep the big picture in mind, and to revise it as needed.

2. Vision casting for my cross-cultural communication project:
Using the Mission Statement, and other strategic planning documents as available, think about where I am headed while answering the following questions,which are tied here into the 3D Dynamics:
HOME: Be specific about who envisioned as engaged in this Mission
   For example: "As a development worker, I will..."
HOST:  State clearly who will be involved as the Mission is being carried out
   For example: "...meeting the needs of those who farm in my HOST community..."
HARBOR: What do I want to see happening in the process of fulfilling my Mission?
   For example: "...I will be honing existing skills and learning from my HOSTs as I introduce
      micro-entreprise opportunities in an effective, sustainable way."

Longer term: Revisit my statement regularly, especially in the early stages, to:
** keep me on track, by reminding me what I am heading for
** help me identify ways I can move forward step by step
** guide me when changes, in my current direction or in my original mission and/or vision, need to be made            

                                                  Please share your comments below.

For a example of a Mission and a Vision Statement, Global SKILLs is currently working with:
Mission Statement

Global SKILLs (Strategies and Kits for Intercultural Lifelong Learning)  is a partnership of subsidiaries with the mission of empowering individuals using life-long learning principles and sustainable practices for personal and professional growth with a special focus on intercultural communications and development.

Vision Statement:
Global SKILLs’ principles, strategies, kits and many tools empowers lifelong learners with consulting and training to meet the challenges of 21st century realities in our increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent “global community”. 

This is probably broader than the scope of your project, but it gives you an idea of how the two statements are distinct, and yet also fit together.  That's your task - come up with two brief statements which define where you are headed and what you want to see happening along the way.

Have fun! 

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