Top-level executives have a lot to consider, especially during strategic planning sessions. As such, it’s not difficult to mix up core values, mission or vision statements, and company goals. Yet, taking the time to recognize the differentiating factors among each of these critical concepts can help your company set clearer goals, especially when using a goal setting framework like Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). When you successfully define each, you’ll not only avoid confusion, you’ll also ensure that your company goals are tied to your core values, as well as your mission and vision statements, and vice versa.
Here's some helpful ways to remember the difference between each:
This should be the simplest to define, as it explains at the most basic level what your company does. In fact, using simple language can make your mission statement easier to connect to, so always aim for specificity and brevity when crafting your mission statement. Here are a few examples:
- Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis
- Life Is Good: Spreading the power of optimism
- Facebook: To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected
Not to be confused with mission statement (which, again, explains what your company is doing), vision statements describe what your organization aspires to. It should be the foundation of many corporate level goals, and can be referred to in decision making. Like your mission statement, your vision should be brief and simple, yet powerful. Here are a few examples:
- Feeding America: A hunger-free America
- Habitat for Humanity: A world where everyone has a decent place to live
- Amazon: To be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online
Your core values should uphold your company vision and mission statements. They, too, can aid in decision making and act as a point of reference for many questions or situations that may arise. They also communicate what your company is about to your customers and prospects.
Some core value examples are:
- Adobe: Genuine, exceptional, innovative, involved
- American Express: Customer commitment, quality, integrity, teamwork, respect for people, good citizenship, a will to win, personal accountability
- Facebook: Focus on impact, move fast, be bold, be open, build social value
Finally, your company goals should align with your vision statement and be based on your topmost important priorities right now. Many organizations are now using OKRs, a powerful goal setting framework by which the accomplishment of Objectives is tracked measured through a series of accompanying Key Results. These OKRs are aligned throughout the entire organization to create company-wide focus on key priorities.
OKR example available for you to look through, but here are a few company-level OKRs to give you an idea:
Objective: Delight Our Company’s Customers
- Interview 15 customers per month and collect feedback
- Increase customer retention to 98%
- Achieve a NPS of 9 from our customers
Objective: Launch the New Product Successfully in Q1
- Create 15 customer case studies
- Get into the Gartner Magic Quadrant
- Win a “Product of the Year” award at an industry tradeshow
What else? How do your company vision and mission statement, goals, and values align? Are there any other tips or tricks you use to differentiate each?
If you’re a CEO, an executive, a middle-manager, or a front-line manager of any team, please take a look at how you can improve your team alignment, performance, and results through OKR goals and ongoing performance management. Here is more about Atiim Pulse OKR.
Zorian Rotenberg is CEO and founder of Atiim™ (i.e. A-team) is an enterprise goals & continuous performance management platform.