Difference between Core Values, Mission & Vision Statements, and Goals
It’s quite common for organisations to confuse mission vision and values. This mistake mostly happens especially when you are in the midst of some serious strategic planning for the next year. At such times we often tend to write down things which we think we should be saying or what another company has already said, instead of projecting who we really are, or believe in, or what we aim to achieve. What makes it even worse is that a lot of these business components are written by a wrong set of people. The outcome is that it has no alignment or reflection of any work that is actually done within the organisation.
When it is done in an appropriate manner, your mission, core values, vision statements, and goals are aligned and tie in well together. The key is to understand how each of these parts differs from one another and then figuring out how to tie them all together. This article takes up each of these segments to explain the meaning of each so that the distinction between them is clear.
What does a Mission Statement Mean?
The mission statement indicates what your company actually does. It needs to be concise, specific and easy to remember. A lot of organisations tend to miss this brief and end up using fancy words which hardly tells you anything about the company. Your company’s mission statement needs to be different than your competitors.
Here are a couple of real examples of the mission statement of some famous companies:
- Adobe:“To move the web forward and give web designers and developers the best tools and services in the world.”
- Paypal: “To build the Web’s most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution.”
- Facebook: “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
- Intuit: “To improve its customers’ financial lives so profoundly, they couldn’t imagine going back to the old way.”
- Kickstarter:“To help bring creative projects to life.”
- LinkedIn: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
- Twitter: “To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.”
- Tumblr: “To empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve”
- Alibaba: “To make it easy to do business anywhere.”
What is a Vision Statement?
A vision statement defines what your organisation aspires to be. This is quite different than your company’s mission statement. When written appropriately, your vision statement should be able to drive the goals and decisions of your company.
Listed below are a couple of real vision statements of some famous companies:
- Google: To provide access to the world’s information in one click.
- Toys R Us: Our vision is to put joy in kids’ hearts and a smile on parent’s faces.
- Sony: “To be a company that inspires and fulfils your curiosity.”
- Walmart: “We save people money so they can live better.”
- L’Oreal: “Offering all women and men worldwide the best of cosmetics innovation in terms of quality, efficacy and safety”
- WWF: We seek to save a planet, a world of life. Reconciling the needs of human beings and the needs of others that share the Earth
- Charles Schwab: “Helping investors help themselves.”
Examples of Core Values?
Core values are values which tend to support an organisation’s vision, reflect its true values, and shape its culture. Your core values define your organization’s beliefs, principles, and the philosophy behind the values. You must try and limit your core values to five. Once it crosses five, it becomes difficult for your employees to remember them. For instance, your core values may include the following:
What do Setting Goals Entail?
A lot of organizations these days are beginning to adopt Google’s Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) methodology to set their goals. The process starts off by setting high-level objectives. The objectives need to align with your company’s vision statement. While these objectives are at a high level, yet they should not be too vague. For instance: Your objectives should not be like ‘Have the best product’ or ‘Create an awesome website’. Instead, your objectives should be:
- Open the London sales office in the UK by January 2019
- Add two Front End Developers by Q3 2017
- Increase MRR by 100% by Q4 2017
After objectives, you need to focus on key results. Your key results should be measurable so that you are aware if and when you have achieved your goals. Avoid adding too many key results – three or four should be sufficient. Here are a couple of example key results:
- Use LinkedIn to increase our resume intake by 50%
- Reach out to key influencers for blog promotion to increase traffic by 25%
- Achieve a +50 NPS score for the customer support team
Your OKRs need to be transparent. While it may feel somewhat odd at first, however, this helps everyone to be on the same page. It also helps you to align your goals with the core values as well as with your vision statement.
If you are in the midst of strategic planning, you need to ensure that you have a diverse group of employees in your company. Basically, your planning sessions should not just involve the executives but also the employees. When the employees of an organisation are involved, they begin to consider the workplace as their own. This will help to create a win-win situation for everyone in the organisation.