I am starting a new role on the 1st August with a secondment for up to 2 years to the role of Black Country Library Services Project Manager.  I am still acting as an Assistant Director managing the Libraries, Archives and Adult Learning division for Dudley while working out what the future for all of these services will be. It will be an interesting challenge.

One of the first tasks that I will need to do in developing the Black Country Libraries project is getting a single, joint vision which is ‘owned’ by all four authorities. This leads me to wonder what it is about a vision that makes it successful and what is the difference between a vision and a mission.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines them as:

Vision: 1. the ability to see the area that you can see from a particular position; 2. an idea or a picture in your imagination; 3. dream or similar experience, especially of a religious kind; 4. a person of great beauty or who shows the quality mentioned; or 6. the picture on a television or cinema/movie theater screen.

Mission: 1. an important official job that a person or group of people is given to do, especially when they are sent to another country; 2. a group of people doing such a job; the place where they work; 3.the work of teaching people about Christianity, especially in a foreign country; a group of people doing such work; 4. a building or group of buildings used by a Christian mission; 5. particular work that you feel it is your duty to do; 6. an important job that is done by a soldier, group of soldiers, etc; 7. a flight into space; or 8. a task or journey that is very difficult and takes a long time to complete.

Looking at these I think I am will be working to develop a vision within definitions 1 and 2, although developing one can often feel more like 3 although not always religious!

For the mission – the key definitions for what I am trying to achieve are basically 1 and 5 and I need to work against it feeling like 8.

Any thoughts from others would be gratefully received.

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