vision statements

How LinkedIn thinks about vision

First Round Capital publishes the First Round Review - a super useful online magazine that highlights tactics and strategies that have propelled their most successful startups to success.

In this article on LinkedIn’s management framework, they share CEO Jeff Weiner’s thoughts on vision and mission and the role they take.

Many people working in tech use the terms ‘mission’ and ‘vision’ interchangeably, and usually fail to implement them beyond lip service from executives. Weiner is convinced that clearly defining both, and living by them every day is a key defining aspect of building a successful technology company.

“Vision is the dream,” says Weiner. “A company’s true north. It’s what inspires everyone day in and day out. It’s what you constantly need to be aspiring to.” He defines LinkedIn’s vision as “Creating economic opportunity for every professional,” where ‘professional’ refers to every single one of the over 3.3 billion people in the global workforce.

The mission, on the other hand, defines how the company strives to fulfill that vision. For LinkedIn, that means “connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” Here the term ‘professional’ is all about the company’s immediate audience of more than 600 million knowledge workers in its network, and the opportunity to change their lives.

Visions aren’t immediately achievable. They’re pie in the sky ideals that may take generations, many partnerships, and many people to achieve — and even then, perhaps only in part. Missions, however, can be defined in terms of concrete objectives, and a company can be measured by how well it achieves them, Weiner says. Most companies, even startups, will only have one or the other. But a vision without reference to what the company actually does is unmoored from reality, and may not serve its purpose to inspire and organize employees.

Weiner uses Google as a prime example of a company with a mission that includes the hallmarks of an effective vision statement: it wasn’t “to be a faster search engine that also offered marginally better first-page results.” It was “To organize the world’s information to make it universally accessible and useful.” The search engine and the company’s other products aspire to fulfill that mission. It’s how Google built a team of missionaries and not mercenaries. It’s how you can get the best people and inspire them to be great, Weiner says.
— First Round Review "The Management Framework that Propelled LinkedIn. to a 20B company"

Vision Statement Examples: Apple

Vision Statement Examples: Apple

“We believe that we’re on the face of the Earth to make great products.

We believe in the simple, not the complex.

We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make.

We participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us.

We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.

We don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change.”

Vision Statement Examples: Lego Group

Inventing the future of play.
 
We want to pioneer new ways of playing, play materials and the business models of play - leveraging globalisation and digitalisation...it is not just about products, it is about realising the human possibility.
— Lego Group Vision Statement

Vision Statement Examples: Reebok

We envision a future where humans return to their roots. A future where we recognize that each of us is a living, breathing, walking, talking, running, climbing, jumping, laughing, caring miracle—a miracle that happens only once.

Through tough fitness, we will push each other to honor the body we’ve been given, because we have only one body to honor. We will endure sweat, tears and even a bit of blood. We will flip tires, sprint hills, and do push-ups until we can’t do them any longer. Why do we do this? We certainly aren’t flipping tires to be better tire flippers. We’re doing it to be better, period. Better leaders; better parents; better stronger, more determined humans—capable of anything. We do it to honor our bodies and sharpen our minds—to be more human.
— Reebok's vision

 

Vision Statement Examples: Whole Foods

Vision Statement Examples: Whole Foods

"Whole Foods Market is a dynamic leader in the quality food business. We are a mission-driven company that aims to set the standards of excellence for food retailers. We are building a business in which high standards permeate all aspects of our company. Quality is a state of mind at Whole Foods Market.

Vision Statement Examples: Gusto

We believe that humans aren’t resources. When we come to work, we don’t leave our humanity at the door. We bring life with us: our feats and friendships, our adventures and aspirations.

Great businesses treat us like people, not ID numbers. When that happens, work becomes a source of energy rather than fatigue. It creates a virtuous cycle where life improves work, and work improves our lives. That’s why we started Gusto.
— Gusto's Vision Statement