Written vision and mission statements are founded on the shared beliefs of the members of an organization and its stakeholders. The beliefs, mission and vision must be consistent with each other, and all major decisions, initiatives, etc., should be grounded in these statements. Vision, mission, and beliefs statements can be written for districts, schools, and initiatives.
Beliefs can be statements of what people assume to be true, as well as declarations of group shared values. These beliefs can be uncovered through group processes, short surveys, interviews, and focus groups. An example of a beliefs statement is found in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, …”
A mission statement declares the purpose of the organization or endeavor, for example, the Preamble to the U. S. Constitution states clearly why the constitution was written.
A vision describes what the ideal would look like if all goals were reached and the mission accomplished. The vision should be a clear enough that the results of the organization’s activities can be compared to the vision statement to check progress. A memorable example of a vision statement is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.
A number of methods of gathering and analyzing qualitative data can be used to prepare vision, mission, and beliefs statements, and it is important to get input from the full spectrum of stakeholders.
Vision, mission, and beliefs statements should be revisited at regularly scheduled intervals or when there has been a major organizational change.