© Antonia Sehlstedt / Försvarsmakten

The importance of a vision and mission statement


I work as a section manager within the Swedish Armed Forces. I’ve been involved as a conscript and volunteer, as a employee, leader and manager for over ten years now. One of the most amazing experiences of my carer was when General Micael Bydén assumed the position as the Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces. After decades of budget cuts and reductions in units – resulting in low morale and culture of defeat – General Bydén made it his most important task to change this. He stated a new vision and mission for the organization he assumed command of and with this, managed to turn things around surprisingly fast.

A stronger defence – responding to every threat, facing every challenge.

This is the vision statement of the Swedish Armed Forces. It’s a clear statement that builds the entire culture of our organization. We will respond to every threat and face every challenge. The statement is generic and can be applied to every section of the organization. It doesn’t matter whether you work as a solider or an officer, in administration, as a IT technician or logistics specialist – we all face challenges and threats and they will be managed.

We defend Sweden and the country’s interests, our freedom and the right to live the way of our choice.

This is the mission statement that explains what the Swedish Armed Forces, as an organization, do. Just as the vision statement it’s an clear statement that is easily understood and can be implement in the entire organization. Notice how it’s inclusive i.e involves the entire organization – military and civilian alike – and Sweden as a nation with “our freedom and the right to live the way of our choice.”

Reading the sections about developing strategic objectives and vision and mission statements in “The Standard For Portfolio Management” really makes me reflect on how important these statements are for an organization. Creating a common vision, mission and goals sparks energy in the organization and enables everyone, employees and managers, to act and take own initiatives.

Got any experience of a vision and mission statement that changed the culture of your workplace? Please leave a comment.