Following up on last week’s blog post Envisioning a Bright Fall: Family Council Vision Statements, this week we’ll be discussing how to create a Vision Statement.
Your vision is what you want to achieve; it is your desired future state. It is distinct from your Mission Statement, which details who your group is and why you exist. Your Mission Statement is ‘now’ oriented, while your Vision Statement is future oriented. Keep this in mind as you develop your Vision Statement.
Basic steps for developing a Vision Statement
- Have all Council members take a few minutes to reflect on the Council’s work and think about what they want to achieve in the future. Have them write down or draw words, phrases and images that illustrate that desired future.
- Compile all the words, phrases and illustrations that Council members have come up with.
- Together as a group, review the list of individual ideas and brainstorm additional words and phrases that, to your group, evoke an image of your desired future state.
- Review sample Family Council Terms of Reference documents for examples of Vision Statements. Highlight or write down any words or phrases that resonate with your group.
- Now that you have an extensive list of ideas, move on to the editing phase.
Edit your ideas:
- As a group, decide which of the ideas you want to keep.
- You can do this by voting on the ideas (words, phrases) or determining which ideas were most popular by counting how many times each idea (including similar ideas) was submitted. Example: If 6 people wrote something like ‘strong communication between families and administration,’ then you will likely want to consider including it in your Vision Statement.
- Using the ideas your Council has compiled, draft a few Vision Statements.
- Keep it simple: 1-2 sentences that all members can remember will ensure that your Council uses the Vision Statement well.
- Make sure it is specific to your Council. The Vision Statement should reflect the specific needs, interests, and values of your Council and the Home in which your group works.
- As a group, discuss the draft Vision Statements and edit them as needed.
- This may take a few rounds of editing!
- Eventually, after a few round of editing, choose a Vision Statement that works best for your group!
Use your Vision Statement:
- Now that your Vision Statement is finalized, use it! Include your Vision Statement in your Council Terms of Reference.
- Use your Vision Statement as an ‘elevator pitch:’ “An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your organization does. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name.1”
- Whenever your Council makes a decision, check that it aligns with your Vision Statement. A well-crafted Vision Statement keeps your Council on track!
Tips for creating a Family Council Vision Statement
- A Vision Statement should be ambitious, but should not seem unachievable. It should inspire Council members, not make people feel as though the vision is out of reach.
- Make it usable: Your Vision Statement is only helpful if you can actually put it into practice.
- Make it short: An ideal length for a vision Statement is 1-2 sentences. The Statement should be easy to remember so that all Council members can use the Statement. A short, well-crafted Vision Statement makes for an excellent ‘elevator pitch’ that can be used to recruit new Council members, communicate with Home staff, and engage with community partners.
- Get buy-in from all members of the Council. Since the Vision Statement should inform all aspects of your work, it is essential that everyone agrees with the Statement.
- Review it regularly (at least annually) and revise it if necessary. Your Vision Statement should change as your Council does.
While not all Councils have a Vision Statement, creating one can go a long way towards engaging and inspiring Council members to achieve greatness. If you have a Vision Statement you’d like to share with other Councils, send it to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to read the Statements that inspire your Council!