AJC Playbook: How to Define Mission and Vision?

Before you head off into the strategic realm, it is often helpful to consider what you are trying to do as an organization (your Mission) and where you want to be in the future (your Vision). Align your team to specific definitions of these. Below are AJC’s Definitions of Mission and Vision. How to define them will be with your Leadership Team – the one with the shared values – and getting the core intent documented before refining the verbiage.


  • Who we are and why we exist, synonym is: “Purpose.”
  • Represents the present.
  • Includes a verb statement.


  • Future state of the company that drives Strategy, and Goals. 
  • Able to be accomplished within the Mission. 
  • Recommend 5+ years out; far enough that the present does not limit the potential

It is helpful to know why you exist – a la Simon Sinek and “What’s your Why? Again, on his website, Sinek states that “The WHY is the purpose, cause or belief that drives every one of us.” This is truly the  Mission; values were discussed before so that you could ensure the right team was together, caring about the same things, to continue the full process.

The discussion for the Leadership Team here is really about getting the core intent articulated. You can refine the verbiage later – recommend using a Communications Professional to help with that as well as any messaging to the broader employee/stakeholder group. However, understanding why you are here and where you want to go, combined with the team’s appetite for growth, will help develop the next step, which is the Strategy and Strategic Roadmap to get there.

Working Genius Note – Mission / Vision

Your Wonder genius team members will love this session – especially around the Mission. They will wonder what is possible for your purpose in the world and will really dive into pondering the possibilities here. The Invention genius will be a kid in a candy store with the Visioning portion – imagining a future world where all their best ideas have come true and not having to worry about how you got there!  Best to let them drive the discussion to end it somewhere and not just ask the questions all day long.  That being said, the nuance described in the “Do You Have the Right People in the Right Seats?” article is true here as well. Specifically around the elevation of this discussion – the Mission and Vision are high level discussions, and this not the time for dampening the enthusiasm with too much discernment (That vision is impossible!) or Tenacity (Let’s list the detailed steps to get there).

Read the previous article in the AJC Playbook Series: What kind of growth do you want?

Read the next article in our AJC Playbook Series: What’s the best strategy for us?

Link back to AJC Playbook: Sharing our Methodology (and Running Table of Contents)