The Difference Between Core Values, Mission & Vision Statements, and Goals

December 11, 2014 - 6 minute read - Posted by

In a previous blog I discussed how a lot of companies confuse goals with core values.

It’s an easy mistake to make; especially if you are in the midst of some heavy strategic planning for next year. We often write things we think we should say, rather than who we really are, what we believe in, and what we aim to achieve.

To make matters worse, a lot of these business components are often written by the wrong people. As a result, they have zero alignment to any of the work actually done within an organization.

Recommended Reading List on Core Values, Mission & Vision Statements

When done right, your core values, mission and vision statements, and goals should all tie in to each other.The trick is understanding how each of these parts differs, and then finding a way to tie them together. Make sense? Hopefully this will help:

Mission Statement: This is what your company actually does. It should be short and easy to memorize. A lot of companies get this wrong and end up using big fancy words that don’t tell us anything. Your mission statement should also be specific enough that people understand what you do and how it may differ from your competitors. So for example:

  • Public Broadcasting System (PBS): To create content that educates, informs and inspires.

  • Google: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful

  • Make-A-Wish: We grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.

Vision Statement:  This is what your company aspires to be; which can be much different than what a company is (mission statement). When done right, your vision statement can and should help drive decisions and goals in your company. Here are some examples of some good vision statements:

  • Disney: To make people happy

  • Ford: To become the world’s leading Consumer Company for automotive products and services.

  • Avon: To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women—globally.

Core Values: Core values are what support the vision, shape the culture, and reflect what your company values.  They are your company’s principles, beliefs, or philosophy of values. Try limiting your core values to five. Once you get beyond this it’s hard for your employees to remember.  Here’s a list of our core values at 7Geese:

  • Making it Happen

  • Demonstrating Passion

  • Having High Standards

  • Being Hungry to Learn

(If you’d like to take a deeper dive, get the Core Values 101 eBook)

GOAL SETTING

Objectives: A lot of companies are adopting Google’s Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) methodology to set goals. The process begins by setting the high level objectives. Your objectives should ideally align with your vision statement. While objectives are high level, they shouldn’t be too vague. So for example, don’t say “Have the best product ever,” or “Create a nicer website.” Here are some better examples:

  • Add two developers

  • Open an office in San Francisco

  • Increase MRR by 30%

Key Results: Your key results are the other part of your OKR. These are the tactics you engage in to meet your objective. They need to be measurable so you know if and when you achieved your goal/objective. Don’t write too many– three to four should be good enough. Using the first objective example above of “Add two new developers”, some potential key results could be:

  • Attend one hiring fair this quarter

  • Create one blog post about hiring

  • Use LinkedIn to reach out to five potential new candidates

Also, you will want your OKRs to be transparent. This may feel odd at first, but it helps everyone understand what each other is working on. It also helps you align your goals with your core values AND your vision statement.

One final word of advice, if you are in the midst of strategic planning, make sure you include a diverse group of employees. In other words, don’t limit these planning sessions to just your executive.  When employees are involved in this process, they see the workplace as ‘theirs’ as opposed to belonging to the executive. It’s a win-win for everyone.


Get the Core Values Guide Interested in learning more?

Looking to create a rockstar recognition program? A team looking to elevate their engagement strategies? This guide will empower you to create a stellar process for engaging your team that focuses on what you value most.

Providing examples of how other teams are living their values, it’s also a great place for teams to start to brainstorm what they’d like to do to elevate their values initiatives.

get the guide here

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