Simon Sinek a développé un modèle théorique particulièrement inspirateur pour concevoir des stratégies marketing et de communication. Je trouve ses articles très pertinents, notamment celui que je reprends ici, sur la Vision et la Mission. Deux termes clé dans la stratégie de la communication qu’on a parfois du mal à comprendre.

What’s the difference between a cat and a dog?

We know they are similar in many respects. For example, they are both mammals, they are both common pets, they are both furry and they both have four legs and a tail. But without getting into the biology, the differences are harder to explain. We know they are different, very different, it’s just hard to put into words. Unlike when we explain the similarities, when we explain the differences we start to describe their personalities more and the superficial differences less. For example, cats tend to look after themselves more and dogs need more attention. Cats act cool. Dogs are more excitable.

The same is true of mission statements and vision statements. It’s easy to describe how they are similar – it’s mostly superficial description. For example – they are both statements intended to give the people in an organization a sense of purpose or direction. Now explain the differences.

And that’s the problem. For some, their definition of a vision is the same definition someone else gives for a mission. And which is supposed to come first? That’s a whole debate unto itself. Because we we share a common definition of a cat and a dog – any mention of either means we all understand the reference. But because mission and vision lack common definitions, it’s impossible to have a discussion about them…or even say what one is.

This is the reason I rarely if ever use either term – because I can’t be sure everyone will know what I’m talking about. And the first rule of communication is that what people think you mean is what you intended to mean. Without that, all you have is miscommunication…and that’s exactly what most vision and mission statements produce. That’s the reason they are generally useless in most organizations.

To describe the purpose or cause of an organization, I call it the WHY – something with a common definition that we can all agree on. And to describe the steps an organization will take to make its WHY a reality – those are called the HOWs. Easy to understand.

If we want to be strict, a vision is the public statement an organization uses to describe its WHY. It should have nothing to do with what the organization does, the products it produces or the services it offers. It should have no comparative language like better or best. It shouldn’t be about the organization at all, in fact. It should be about the world those in the organization imagine. The world they want to build. That’s the reason it’s called a vision – it’s something you can see – something far away that does not exist yet. “What’s your vision?” means tell me what the world looks like if everything goes your way.

Strictly speaking, the mission is HOW you intend to get there. That’s where the rubber meets the road. That’s the point at which you can talk about your strategies or your process or your differentiating value proposition. The mission, like in the military, is literally the task you’re undertaking to advance some greater cause. The mission advances the vision.

If we use the terms WHY and HOW instead of vision and mission, clarity goes up and no one will fight like cats and dogs anymore…if you know what I mean.

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