WHERE ARE YOU HEADED? MISSION POSSIBLE:Develop Your Function Mission and Vision Statement

Developing your function vision and mission statements will help you stay on track throughout the year. Now's a good time to pull them out and make sure they complement your organization's vision and mission statements. Don't have ‘em? Not to worry!  Here are some guidelines to get you started and then it's smooth sailing…


Your vision is “who you are” or expect to be in the future. It’s your ideal future - what you are working towards – knowing you will fine tune your actions along the way. A function vision statement, once crafted, rarely changes except in cases where the company has changed its vision due to restructure, acquisition or other marketplace changes.

Follow these steps to help you develop your 20/20 vision:

1. Review your organization’s vision statement! Your function’s vision must align with this for you to be taken seriously as a performance partner.

2. Complete a visioning exercise with your team or by yourself (if a department of one) like the Helicopter Visioning Activity described here:

Helicopter Visioning Activity

  • Imagine yourself in a helicopter hovering above your department about 5 years from now. Looking down on your department, what do you see? Consider things like:
    • What activities are we doing? What projects we are working on?
    • What staff is there…and what do they spend their time doing?
    • Who are the people we partner with?
    • What are the things we value?
    • What results are we getting? How are we impacting the organization’s performance?
    • What are peoples’ perceptions of us? What are they saying about us and what we’ve accomplished over the past 5 years?
  • Record your answers using drawings, words, story board, symbols...whatever works for you!
  • Examine your drawing, words, etc., and pick out some common themes like partnership, collaboration, client focused…you get the idea.

3. Begin to craft a statement that starts with “We are….” or “The X Learning and Development department is…” If it sounds pretty vague and “pie in the sky”, you’re probably on the right track!

As an example, here is The Training Clinic’s vision statement:

“We are the trusted partner of choice for learning and performance professionals worldwide.”

4. Once you’ve drafted your vision statement and are comfortable that it supports your organization’s vision, the next step is to gain management’s support for it. Incorporate suggestions or feedback from colleagues and execs before finalizing your statement.

Now on to your mission statement!


The mission of the training function is the ‘business’ conducted by the function. It’s a statement of HOW you will achieve your vision. Think of it as a roadmap to get you there. It should be short, memorable.

If your function has no formal mission statement, there are a couple of ways of developing one

You can write your mission statement in either paragraph or bullet point format.

Again, as an example, here is The Training Clinic’s mission statement that helps us reach our vision

  • One approach involves reflecting on your vision and asking yourself, “What do we need to DO to get here?” This “what” could be in the form of products, services, tools, partnerships, your approach to the L&D profession, etc.
  • Another approach involves looking at what the training function has been doing as a means of revealing an implicit mission. For example, if a major responsibility of the training function is to find internal subject matter experts to train new employees on essential skills, then the training function’s mission could be stated as “to increase skills of new employees by providing essential job-related skills.” So, list the major activities conducted in your training department. Then, based on those activities, identify the collective purpose of the activities by writing the purpose (mission) statement in one or two sentences.


    • To provide practical and useful tools to make the job of the learning professional easier and more beneficial to the organization.
    • To model state-of-the art design, facilitation, and management of learning.
    • To share our expertise and passion for adult learning, inspiring others to do the same.

Mission statements should be living, breathing reflections of the business you are in…what you are doing that others can’t…your purpose. And that means they will evolve over time! Your function’s mission statement is something that does not necessarily need executive buy in – although that’s always a good thing! However you WILL want collaboration and buy-in with the rest of your training team. Only you and your team to know the intricacies of our profession needed to support and execute the function’s vision! And you will want to revisit your mission statement regularly to keep it up-to-date.

From your mission statement you can then begin to write your team’s goals and objectives for the year. For example, for us at The Training Clinic, in order to “share our expertise“ as described in the third bulled of our mission statement, we need to craft a vigorous marketing plan yearly that includes what we are going to do, how we are going to do it and the resources and capabilities we need to pump up!

BUT …. BUT….

It’s at this point that many of you may ask, “But what do we do if our organization does not have a vision or mission statement?” Two answers for you here. First, they may have been written down somewhere, but that’s where they stayed: on the paper in some drawer or in some file in some computer. This requires a bit of sleuthing on your part. Once found, don’t think you can just run with it! You’ll need to circle back with the execs and see if this is indeed what they feel best represents the organization.

If not OR if you truly can’t find these statements, then the execs need to be taken through the exact same exercises described above to craft a vision and mission statement. If you have a background in strategic planning, go ahead and offer to take them through this. If not, get a trained professional to help. (By the way, this is something we LOVE to do, so feel free to reach out to Melissa or Maria for help!)


Once you’ve crafted your statements, give them life! Publish them in your marketing materials and make them visible throughout your department. Always circle back as you are taking on new projects and priorities and ask yourself, “Will this help us achieve our vision? Is this in line with our mission?” If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” then you need to stop and help the organization revisit ITS vision and mission statements. All activities, initiatives and directives need to work towards the common goal of helping the organization achieve and support its vision and mission.

It’s our job as internal performance consultants to push back when necessary and ensure everyone stays on the same path. Ahhhh – our work is never done!

Maria Chilcote & Melissa Smith

The Training Clinic