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An organization’s mission statement is a description of its current objectives. A mission statement informs the public of the purpose of the organization, the people it targets and the benefits that such persons would accrue. A vision statement is a company’s description of its future upon the accomplishment of the present goals. It is also defined as a tool that is used to communicate an organization’s desired future goals after it has successfully achieved the present day goals. Thus, a vision statement is an instrument that should be used to energize and inspire the employees and stakeholders of the entire organization (Collins & Porras, 2011). The vision statement of Amazon is “to be earth’s most consumer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online” (Amazon, 2012).
Collins and Porras (2011), provide a framework that is to be used in the evaluation of the appropriateness of vision statements. It is a framework made up of four components that should be contained in appropriate vision statements. The first of these components is that the vision statement should be seen to provide the values and beliefs of the organization. These entail the fundamental ideas of the importance that the organization gives to the lives of the people. The values and beliefs are also referred to as the guiding philosophies. These beliefs form the basis of all the decisions and policies made by the organization in its evolution stages. These values stated in the vision should not exceed five. The values should be made independent of the prevailing business environment and style of management. Some examples of these values are customer service, creativity, technology, social responsibility and integrity (Collins & Porras, 2011).
Secondly, the vision should contain a purpose that should be brief thus, easy to understand. The statement of purpose describes the reasons for the existence of the organization. This purpose ought to expound on the means through which the organization meets basic human needs. This purpose distinguishes an organization from other organization, usually unchanging over time as it sets the path in which the organization will follow. An appropriate vision statement should not be expressed as this offers little direction to the firms employees. The third component entails the statement of mission. This is a strong and compelling goal. The mission should be achievable and attainable through hard work and prudent preparation. Upon the accomplishment of the mission, another mission is established and preparations made towards its accomplishment. The missions should be accomplished within a limited timeframe. It should also be described in such a way that it provides a vivid picture of where the organization will be upon its accomplishment. Such a description is seen to invoke excitement and passion amongst all the stakeholders of the organization (Collins & Porras, 2011).
The vision statement of Amazon meets two of the components as provided by the framework. It gives the organization’s value and beliefs of being an online provider of online literature. The vision statement gives the organization’s reason for its existence. It aims at ensuring that everyone gains access and discovers anything online. The vision statement gives a vivid description of the organization’s future though it lacks to give short-term missions that would lead the organization to the long-term goal. Amazon’s failure to include the missions may lead the organization to take a longer time in the accomplishment of the long-term vision. The organization needs stepping stones towards the achievement of the vision (Amazon, 2012).
An appropriate vision statement is a powerful tool for all organizations as it compels, conveys confidence and inspires the organization’s view of the future. A paragraph describes the values, goods or services and the future of the organization. A vision’s essence is to provide the organization with a mental picture of the future of the organization. The vision statement is also used as a communicative tool as it paints a picture of the organization’s future. The vision ignites the desire and commitment to achieve its components. It communicates to employees and the public of the management’s vision for the future. The vision helps to improve the focus of the business. It eliminates misunderstandings and confusion. A business with a vision has an enhanced professional outlook from the public. Other benefits of the vision statement are that it fosters teamwork, improves employee morale, and it helps attract and retain the best talent in the market. Besides being the instrument that shows an organization’s future, a vision must be seen to empower the leaders and encourage the subordinates to implement change in the organization. The need for organizational change emerges from the fact that the environment in which operations take place is volatile. An organization may make internal changes in order to accommodate the changes occurring in the external.
This type of change is reactive. Where an organization makes strategic decisions in anticipation of change, this form of change is deemed proactive. For an organization to make successful change, a vision that draws the desirable future of the organization should be in place. The vision statement provides all stakeholders with a sense of belonging and a sense of persevering towards the ultimate purpose. A change-oriented vision should make sense in order to avoid confusion in the formation of missions during the change process. The vision should also be seen as communicative (Price, 2001).
Amazon’s vision is one that encourages change as the stakeholders, to drive the organization to accomplish the desired goal, can use it. “To build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online”. The organization has a defined purpose that should be achieved regardless of the prevailing business environment (Amazon, 2012).
The vision statement of Amazon is similar to that stated. The statement fails to provide the missions short-term goals that would lead to the final goal. Missions are essential, as they are indicative of an organization’s direction towards the future goal. Amazon therefore, should consider including missions in its vision statement.