10 Apr Once and For All – Defining Vision, Mission, Goal & Strategy for Leaders

“What’s surprised you so far?” I recently asked a new leader to the C-suite at a major multinational company.  “I can’t believe that senior executives mix up goals and strategy!”

Vision – “a mental image of what the future will or could be like.”

WHY should people support what you believe could be?

Mission – “a strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling.”

WHAT will keep people inspired, engaged and motivated?

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 2.17.38 PMGoal – “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.”

WHERE are you going?

Strategy – “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.”

WHO does WHAT by WHEN?

Notice the word “aim” in three of the four definitions? Aim as in “a purpose or intention; a desired outcome.” The key for the leader is being purposeful and intentional.

It’s sort of like orienteering where one learns the difference between True North, Magnetic North and Grid North. It’s important so when using a map and a compass, one is able to translate properly from the map to the ground and back. One also learns that it’s better to proceed slowly while constantly checking for accurate distance and direction. It doesn’t matter how fast you go if you end up in the wrong spot.

As for the four definitions above, four questions for you:

  1. Does your team truly know what’s expected of them?
  2. Could your team accurately articulate the who, what, where, when and why?
  3. Are you taking a step back to truly understand what obstacles to clear, and resources to provide?
  4. Is the team merely compliant or truly committed to your vision, mission, goals and strategy? If not, ask yourself, “Has my team had a hand in ‘creating’ that which they’re being asked to support?”
  • Dave Kinnear
    Posted at 18:05h, 10 April Reply

    Hi Jan. Thanks for a great article.

    Back in 1988, Michael Myatt wrote this:

    “Values should underpin Vision, which dictates Mission, which determines Strategy, which surfaces Goals that frame Objectives, which in turn drives the Tactics that tell an organization what Resources, Infrastructure and Processes are needed to support a certainty of execution.”

    I find his statement to bring clarity to the process and to the meanings of the “buzz” words we use in business these days.

    Thanks again for a great post.

    • Jan Rutherford
      Posted at 18:59h, 10 April Reply

      Dave – I remember reading Myatt’s work way back then, but forgot about that great quote. Thanks for resurfacing it. I too like the clarity and simplicity in his elegant statement. Hope you’re thriving down there in S. CA!

      Denver | Portland

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