Establish the Vision – Make it Your Mission to Succeed
Have you ever flown Southwest Airlines? If so, you’ve likely experienced the crew’s tendency toward silly antics like spontaneously breaking into song or cracking a joke over the loudspeaker. They seem to really have fun. Sounds a bit like the fish market crew we wrote about last week, right?
It’s no coincidence that Southwest has gained a reputation for warm, friendly and fun customer service.
A visit to their website revealed that the company culture is immersed in this attitude. Their vision is to “become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline”, and their mission is “dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.”
Southwest Airlines has built a company on being fun, friendly and – above all – loved. The in-flight shenanigans are great examples of how the crew embraces the vision and executes the mission of the company. And, much like our fish market stars in last week’s post, it works for them. They are an industry leader that many other big-named airlines have tried and failed to emulate.¹
Vision vs. Mission
Springboarding on Southwest’s example, let’s unpack these two components of company culture –vision and a mission. Internet research provides many definitions and opinions for both. Some folks use the terms interchangeably, while others paint a very clear distinction between the two. Either way, their importance in defining a company’s culture cannot be denied.
One definition in a Forbes.com article states: Vision statements are about looking ahead; they state where you want your company to go. Mission relates to doing, which means it outlines the practical things you will do to achieve your vision. ²
This is a great breakdown. However, for the purpose of getting to my point, here is my take based on the experience of building and running a business:
Vision – A company’s vision is what it aspires to be. The vision statement guides the direction of the company by outlining a purpose for growth. For example, our vision at Trainertainment is to grow and empower people. We seek to empower those that want to run faster and jump higher. It’s what we aspire to do – every minute, every day. We believe when you grow people, you grow the business.
(The vision is WHY we do what we do.)
Mission – If the vision is the objective, then the mission is the means of getting there. The mission statement outlines the day-to-day path to achieving the vision. At Trainertainment, our mission is to provide coaching, training, and tools that empower and inspire people. Above all, we believe in fun training that produces serious results.
(The mission is HOW we do what we do.)
Defining one or both for your company is essential to creating a company culture that sticks. These components are the foundation and roadmap for where you want the company to go and how you aim to get there. After all, if you don’t have a clear vision for your company, how can anyone else?
If you or your company do not have a vision and/or mission, then there’s no time like the present to start the process. Don’t know where to start or need help refining what you already have? Check out our upcoming training event in April: Trainertainment Business Growth Conference.
Stay tuned for next week’s post, as I continue to cover the core components of a successful company culture by discussing Values – which is a big one for us at Trainertainment.
- Solomon, Micah. “What You Can Learn from Southwest Airlines’ Culture.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 4 Apr. 2012, www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/what-you-can-learn-from-southwest-airlines-culture/2012/04/03/gIQAzLVVtS_story.html?utm_term=.d01d0e42cc33.
- Bradford, Jeff. “Bolstering Your Brand Through Vision And Mission Statements.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 24 Aug. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/08/24/bolstering-your-brand-through-vision-and-mission-statements/#53bad1c22176.