by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D, 2/27/17.
Why are Apple fans more passionate than PC followers? Why are artists, who think abstractly, drawn to Apple more than Microsoft?
It has to do with one of their founder’s mixup of vision with mission.
Bill Gates equated mission with vision. As I teach my students, the two are distinctly different: mission never changes, but vision is temporal and may change, albeit carefully, over time and with strategic analysis.
Gates equated mission with vision as the current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “It always bothered me that we confused an enduring mission with a temporal goal.”
Nadelle explained, “When I joined the company in 1992, we used to talk about our mission as putting a PC in every home, and by the end of the decade we have done that, at least in the developed world,” said Nadella.
Nadella is right, “putting a PC in every home” is not a mission – because it is a vision. It is something that can be reached, can be pictured in your mind and is temporally bound. You can see a vision in your mind. You can envision every house having a PC computer. That is why every house today doesn’t, many have Macs.
A mission drives the company and its values, therefore shaping it’s decisions. It is much bigger and grander than a vision.
When Steve Jobs was luring Bill Scully from PepsiCo to become CEO of Apple, Jobs shared a mission, not a vision, saying: “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” (Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple: A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future  by John Sculley and John A. Byrne)
A mission is just like that. It is exciting, world-changing … but somewhat imprecise so it could be manifest in many different outcomes. It is also not temporally bound, like “putting a PC in every home.” A mission drives your values and decisions through many different projects.
But, people like visions because they can envision what the future looks like. For instance, they can picture every home having a PC.
In contrast, look at the loyal following and passionate followers of Apple. Steve Jobs had a mission to “change the world” by reinventing the way the world interacts. This change mission includes, but is not limited to, putting an Apple Computer in every home. But it also includes visions such as putting an Apple iPhone in every hand, perfecting the computer notepad, reinventing how we obtain/listen to music, etc.
A person who knows the difference between vision and mission understands why it was much more fun and exciting to work for Jobs than for Gates. And a person who knows the difference between vision and mission understands why people are more passionate about companies like Apple.
If you are trying to get people excited about the mission of the church and your vision, then you must begin by understanding the difference between vision and mission. Even mega-wealthy entrepreneurs like Gates didn’t get it and their legacy reminds us of this.