It’s enough to drive you nuts…
I mentioned in an earlier post that I am working through the vision and goals for my business networking chapter. Having arrived at a pretty good idea of how these are different, I run across a number of online discussions about the difference between the vision and the mission.
Sigh….so, I can either ignore this or continue my research and discover if there is anything here that will help me and my team come up with something that will truly help our group. I’m always up for learning more, so here we go!
As I researched the difference between Vision, Mission and Goals I became intrigued at how they not only support each other but are a bit self-referential. Creating each one requires an alteration of mindset and the ability to think about an organization differently while still seeing it as something that is singular (that is, don’t describe 3 different kinds of things….there’s only ONE company!) yet evolving. The culture, society and business world in which we live and work is dynamic and requires a balance of agility and consistency that is difficult to maintain. It is WAY too easy to slide to one side or the other: “Stay the course through thick and thin” or “Getting your chain yanked so frequently the links break.“
Here are my own summary definitions of these three items:
- Vision – This is WHERE you want to be…..the future! Where do you aim to be when all you do is incorporated into the world around you? A palpable vision creates momentum about this future where “change is embraced as a step closer to that very compelling picture of what’s coming next. The excitement about the future trumps any apprehension about the uncertain — change is recognized as the catalytic converter it is.” – Rosa Say. I mentioned the example of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in my earlier post as a signature example of a compelling Vision. As the organization evolves, you may be tempted to change your vision. However, since this explains your foundation, change should be kept to an absolute minimum. Vision should be clear and lack ambiguity. Describe a bright and hope-filled future! It should be memorable, engaging, achievable with realistic aspirations, as well as align with organizational values and culture.
- Mission – This is HOW you will get to where you want to be. What do you want to do? What makes you different? The Missions talks about the present, leading to its future. The prime function is internal, in that it can define the the key measure(s) of the organization’s success. The Mission may change, but it still ties back to your core values, customer needs and vision. An effective Mission features the purpose an values of the organization. Who are the primary clients/stakeholders? What are your responsibilities to them?
- Goals – These quantify and define steps you must take….the milestones that let you know you are moving in the right direction. In my earlier post I reviewed the concept of S.M.A.R.T. Goals. They are measurable and answer the questions of WHEN? and HOW MUCH?, among others. Another kind of example is if you have a goal to lose weight, your vision may be of a healthy life and what that looks and feels like, and its affect upon those around you. Having well developed goals help maintain focus and perspective, and establish priorities.
I use a mind-mapping tool in a lot my thinking and planning process. It has a wizard with which I can interact that allows me to create a collection of thoughts, statements, questions and anything else that helps me work through what I’m working on, and them allows me to create “buckets” or categories in which to drag and connect them. Using this tool to take all these thoughts, pictures and other things and then refine their placement as part of the Vision, Mission or Goals helps me clarify my thoughts and further refine the final drafts of each of these. It is a pain-staking process, and I am regularly circling back with my other team members as we go through it, as consensus and buy-in are critical for any of this to have the desired outcome. I thoroughly believe it is the groundwork to our success, or I wouldn’t bother, believe me.
Going through this for my chapter also triggers similar strategizing for my business. I have always held the belief that the learning I get from one thing can apply in numerous places, and not always the most obvious ones (like the parallels between my chapter and my business…). I am all ready to pull open my business plan and revisit my Vision, my Mission and my Goals.
Join me and have the impact on the world around you that you really want!