Vision, Mission, Goals, and Objectives

Does your organization understand the differences between a Vision, Mission, Goal, and Objective?

  • You SEE a Vision (images of what we ultimately want to achieve)
  • You HAVE a Mission (your type of business and industry)
  • You PURSUE Goals (the results we choose to accomplish)
  • You ACHIEVE Objectives (measurable targets along the path to our goals)

Shared Views
Organizational purpose comes from the shared view of our vision, mission, and principles. Satisfying customers requires that you understand their needs, know your own processes, and then set objectives to drive and evaluate your action plans.

Statement of Purpose
To perform strategic planning, you mst begin with a clear Charter:

  • Why are you in business? (Vision)
  • What business are you in? (Mission)
  • What are your principles? (Values)  

Each element of the Charter is important. You need to link these vision, mission, and value statements. A vision without a mission is just a pipedream. And, tactics must be guided by honorable values.

Vision Statement
A vision statement should be created as a compelling verbal image and form a mental picture of the future. It should define what we seek to become as an organization, yet describe something that is possible. The vision should generate human power and energy. In other words, it should provide direction and focus for the organization.

To develop the vision statement, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your dream or vision of the future?
  • What is the loftiest picture you can imagine?

Then, convince others of the value of your vision. Express it in a way that aligns with their best interests. Encourage them to buy into your purpose for the organization. Keep the statement brief and memorable. Use it as a focus for everything you do.

Begin by imagining a reporter writing a story about your organization five years from now. Write the lead paragraph to capture the reader’s attention and explain the special aspects of your organization. Create a vision statement using the major themes expressed in these ideas.

Mission Statement
Your mission is the business reason for your organization’s existence. It is an element of the charter. It doesn’t descrbe a specific outcome and contains no time limit or measurement. The mission statement will provide the basis for setting your goals and is used to allocate resources. A typical misson statement might be:

We provide (product) with (scope) to (customer) for (reason) in (marketplace).

To define your mission, begin by describing why your organization exists. Identify your scope of products, services, and support. Identify your customers and the audience for your offerings. Then, write a brief and succinct mission statement.

Values Statement
Values are the beliefs behind your vision and mission. A worthy vision is guided by worthy values. Values give dignity and direction to your mission. They are the moral compass during your vision quest. A values statement may include elements like:

  • Integrity in all our actions
  • Commitment to employees
  • Quality of our products
  • Technology innovations
  • Continual learning

What do you hold dear and inviolate? What core values guide your activities? Express these values for an improved work environment and allow the organization to prosper.

Strategy Development
Your vision, mission, and values play an important role in developing your business strategy. They provide the framework for generating and screening strategic options. The provide an organizational identity and understanding of business directions.

Goals and Objectives

Goals are conditions to be achieved in the future. They must be defined consistent with your vision and mission. Goals are established to guide your decisions and actions. However, they usually do not involve measurable results, and therefore, do not change as often as objectives.

Objectives are focused on critical issues and milestones. They describe the activities and targets to achieve your goals. They identify the dates for completing the activities. They are measurable in terms of being achieved, or not. For example, a generalgoal might be to reduce waste. The specific objective might be to reduce waste from 4% to 3% by the end of 2006