Goals, mission and vision statements, and core values are often conflated as the same thing, but they're actually quite different! 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. Here's a break down of the differences between goals, mission statements, vision statements, and core values:
Mission Statements: This is what your organization actually does.
Tips about writing mission statements:
- They should be short and easy to memorize.
- Be written in easy to understand language.
- Specific to what you do
- Simply explains how you differ from your competitors.
Few examples of mission statements:
- Disney: The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.
- Google: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
- Apple: Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.
Vision: A vision is what the team aspires to be. A vision isn't a statement, but a set of a ideas that describe a future aspiration your organization must grapple with trying to work towards.
A vision will help drive decisions and goals that influence your organization objectives and priorities. Visions should provide a sense of aspiration of what your organization one day hopes to achieve. They are ever-changing. They should describe the state of the organization, but not rush to summarize what you do today.
Important! Different teams and functional groups of an organization may have, and are encouraged to have different visions.
Tips about writing visions:
- Think about visions as organizational attributes you'd like to one day accomplish.
- Think about the capabilities required to accomplish these attributes.
- Think about how you will measure the progress both on a road map as well as in metrics - a pathway towards the attributes.
- While these are important thought considerations, visions should not attempt to measure actual progress.
- Do not write your vision as a potential future mission, it's not about transformation of one to the other.
- A vision is not just about growing, but about maintaining.
- Visioning is a process, not an output.
An example of a vision and how it differs:
- Disney: Ultimately, Disney's mission statement gets down to the point to make people happy.
Making people happy doesn't change—ever. One part of the complex buisiness that is Disney could be a vision that includes:
- Be the leader in the delivery of entertainment experiences.
This particular vision aligns with only one team within disney - it is a granular statement. It isn't a measurable statement, but an idea. Goals step in to turn this vision statement into accountable, owned goals. Each vision is accomplished with a set of capabilities, attributes, and measures to determine progress - Objectives and key results is one way to track this progress.
Organization Core Values
Core Values: Values support the vision, shape the culture, and reflect what your team values.
Core values are your organization’s principles, beliefs, or philosophy of values. Core values make everyone in your organization ambassadors. Core values help your team understand the link between strategy and culture - they explain how the day-to-day translates into supporting aligned efforts and goals.
Tips about writing core values:
- They should be short and easy to relate to an action statement.
- Be written in easy to understand language.
- Make them action-based.
- Don't make too many of them - the golden average is 3-5.
- Punchy is memorable.
- They exemplify what is apart of your day-to-day culture.
- They are not your sales goals - it's not about marketing or selling yourself.
Team Culture: Team member satisfaction
It’s Day 1 at your new job. You’ve joined this team to do some great work and contribute to their vision. What is your employment going to look over time?
Employment has changed significantly in the past 50 years. In the past, people would work at organizations for a lifetime and now you see person's job hopping to an average of 15-20 jobs over their lifetime. Why is it that 70% of team members are looking for new opportunities?
The modern employee-employer relationship, according to Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh and Ben Casnocha co-authors of The Alliance, is based on a dishonest conversation. People leave because they invest in the team without getting any professional investment in their future in return from the team.
In the Alliance, the co-authors present strategies adopted by LinkedIn and other tech companies of how we can manage talent in our growing information age. It requires a lot of hard work, but by providing direction with specific objectives and opportunity to grow we can move the work employee-employer from transactional relationship to a mutually beneficial ongoing relationship.
In the military, soldiers serve a tour of duty where they serve their country for a period of time. Within an alliance, team members and their companies also serve a tour of duty together where a path a mutual benefit, projects and value exchange occur. A tour of duty is a commitment between team member and employer that focuses on a specific mission within a time frame. Tours of duty can last from 2 years to decades. These agreements differ based on what the mission of work is.
The co-authors of the Alliance have described 3 different tours of duty: rotational, transformational and foundational. Rotational tours are defined as entry-level work within a 2-4 year term, ideal for someone who is new to the market or fresh out of school. Rotational tours are a great place to ramp up a new skill set. Transformational tours occur when your individual identity is intertwined with the companies identity to follow a meaningful mission. Transformational tours can occur in startup companies. The first 10 -20 team members will devote a large part of their daily lives growing the team. Lastly, foundational tours refer to work that will have large overlap between your personal career purpose and the companies career purpose. You will most likely stay with a company for +10 years in various different positions, contributing to large projects that create significant advancement and progress for the company.
When you set a tour of duty with a team member from the initial conversation it plays an essential role to future tours of duty they can pursue within the team. It also creates a roadmap that can later be changed or give opportunity for another role they may be interested in. A team member should think how they can offer value for the tour of duty and managers should think of how they can support them along the way.
Clearly Aligned Objectives
A great way to align the tour of duty is to have clear objectives on an organization, department and personal level. It allows everyone to think strategically about their work but also gives employee a way to monitor their own progress, learn to set smart goals and align their work to the organization goals.
Setting clear objectives creates a process by which team memberss and managers can work together but also empowers them to take ownership of their work. When you sit and get to know someones core values and see how that aligns with your business values. You can use this information to figure out where they will be most effective in the organization. This process will take time for a manager, but it will pay off since you will learn to better work with that person long term. From someones core values you can learn a lot about their personal goals as well. These will differ between individuals if you have one employee that is a philanthropic driven vs. someone who is driven by solely improving themselves. Get to know your employees on a more personal level to have conversations to better support them on their objectives. Set regular intervals to check in on their objectives. This is a great opportunity to exchange feedback on how progress is moving forward for performance management.
Growth and Development Opportunities
Everyone wants to gain valuable experience through their career with opportunities to gain new skills sets. Employers should create opportunities where team members can build their network and collaborate with other professionals for their own value plus the companies benefit as well.
There are companies who do this well. Moz, a seattle-based inbound marketing software team, encourages learning by creating speaking events for their team to engage both their customers and others in what is trending in the SEO space. LinkedIn also gives budgets for their team members to have lunch with smart people and learn from others in the industry.
Not only is your team members' learning valuable for your an external audience but it’s also great to share it with your team internally. At 7Geese, we have weekly Lunch and Learns where 1-2 people present something that they have learned on their own that they can relate to our business. This kind of learning engages employees in different fields and departments learn more about each others work. We document all the presentations so we can go back and reference to them and also apply the new knowledge to improve our work. And occasionally we will have guest speakers to come in and present topics to better improve our careers and personal lives.
Companies that give their teams the resources, freedom and space for learning truly add value to both the individual and employer but also create ideas for innovation. Ed Catmull and John Lasseter rebirthed Pixar from a struggling organization, to a market leader making great movies with computer animation, Benjamin Black of Amazon presented the idea for Amazon Web Services which is now a leader in cloud computing and hosting for companies all around the world. Investing in employee learning and development shows you care and stick to your agreement to help employees grow professionally.
A workplace where everyone can work together and all have the same level of happiness and career satisfaction is hard. It takes a lot of work with organizational structure, culture and open conversations where expectations of both parties can be clear. Picture it this way: if someone leaves your team to embark a different tour of duty elsewhere, you want them to speak highly of the team they worked with, the life long relationships they built, and the exciting work and achievements they had along the way. The key here is to start small. If you’re reading this you are probably doing a lot right already. Strive to not be transactional but create employee-employer alliances with career roadmaps, clear objectives and shared learning for better alignment in your workforce.
Defining organization core values
The nature, role, and function of core values in organizational success is foundational to the essence of culture and identity. Considered a central part of the value foundation of a corporate brand, defining core values support the vision of behaviour-based actions that lead to wins. Shaping the culture and reflecting what your organization values most is difficult behind closed doors.
Often the principles, beliefs or philosophy of organizational values are hidden behind multiple clicks on a website, or at the beginning of an employee handbook. As a result, many teams end up focusing mostly on the technical competencies that drive success, but often forget what the underlying reasoning behind their hard work.
If you communicate the WHY, helping everyone understand the PURPOSE, you can sell more and be successful, together.
Core values are the rules to run your business by. They also help with hiring purposes when it comes to cultural fit!
- Core Values = culture, vibe, identity.
- Core Values drive vision.
- Core Values remain relatively static.
- Core Values are established at the very beginning of a organization.
- Core Values drive motivation, self-enhancement, openness to change, and empowerment over performance.
- Core Values keep everyone aligned.
- Core Values show your true colours.
- Core Values build integrity and trust internally and communicate resilience.
Core values VERSUS strategies and practices.
It's important to make a distinction between core values and strategies:
- Core values are fixed regardless of the time and factors. They are also internal as well as external, affecting the behaviour-based performance within the organization while also impacting how others externally see what you value within a given snapshot of time.
- Strategies and practices should be changing all the time. They are the process to get success and sale.
Establishing strong core values provides both internal and external advantages to the organization. Here's a few reasons why creating organizational core values is important:
- Team members can acknowledge their peers for embodying core values in day to day tasks. Making victories social and not just behind closed doors promotes ownership over performance. Creating a strong, cohesive identity provides clarity into how individual development leads to organization success.
- Core values help companies in the decision-making processes. For example, if one of your core values is to stand behind the quality of your products, any products not reaching the satisfactory standard can be automatically eliminated as they are no longer aligned.
- Core values educate your clients and potential customers about what the organization is about and clarify the identity of your organization.
- Core values are key recruiting and retention tools. Job seekers are doing their homework on the identities of the places they are applying for, weighing whether organizations hold the values they consider as important. HR shouldn't have to struggle to find a fit, let them organically come to you!
What others have to say about core values.
- Distinguish your core values with vibes. Vibes are the emotional side of who you are as a team.
- Example: Work hard. Play hard. - Most people would question, Is that really a value? Would the above statement be true during an economic downturn? The answer is probably no, but that doesn't mean that you can't appeal to the empathetic part of team morale.
Core Values Will Create Your Success - Curt Richardson, Found and CEO of Otterbox. [April 30th, 2012]
- Values of an organization come from the founder. They are established at the very beginning and influence how the team scales, how the vision is driven, and the people that turn a vision into reality.
- Core values must not only be accepted but truly believed by all other top level executives so it becomes ingrained in each and every person along the way.
- Values are relatively static. Who you are as a person doesn't change radically, for most, and who your team is shouldn't either. As a team evolves so will its core values. These changes should be a fine tuning rather than a complete overhaul.
How To Keep Your Startup Vibe In A Rapidly Growing Company - Sandra Nguyen, VP of People and Culture @ Volusion, Inc. [August 27th, 2014]
- Feedback and reflection becomes everyone's opportunity - Having something that everyone knows they're contributing to empowers ownership over performance. This can boost retention and nurtures leaders, not followers.
Steve Jobs reflecting on Core Values and the next 10 Years. - [January 5th, 2012]
- "We're certainly a little more experienced, we're certainly more beat up, uh, but the core values are the same. And we come into work wanting to do the same thing today as we did five or ten years ago which is build the best products for people." - Steve Jobs
Develop a strategy behind your recognition program
Narrow down the purpose of your recognition program and its goals. The Recognition Center provides you with a detailed summary of each person's recognitions as well as who have received the most recognitions based on each of your core values. Have a strategy on how you will use the data provided by the recognition center to measure and sustain your program. Here is one example goal you can have for your recognition program and how to measure it:
- Increase Alignment to Core Values
Every quarter you can measure how aligned team members are to your core values by looking at the total number of recognitions as well as the breakdown of recognitions for each core value. You can compare these numbers to the previous quarter to measure your progress. If someone are not being recognized for a specific core value, you can be proactive to promote that core value as explain below.
Align your recognition program with your core values
Aligning your recognition program with your core values promotes engagement and lowers turnover. Use your recognition program as an opportunity to talk about your team's core values. Make sure to set up your core values in 7Geese and create custom badges for each core value that represents your logo and branding. Get input on what behaviours would reflect the core values. Your team needs to have a clear understanding on what behaviours are aligned with your core values. By involving your employees, you can also see whether your core values are aligned with your business strategies.
Lead by example and monitor recognition quality
Provide value-based recognitions to your team while focusing on their behaviours. Encourage everyone to write a detailed description on what the employee does to receive a recognition and how the behaviours are in line with the team's core values. For example, instead of "Good job on helping the customer", add more details to the recognition such as "You provided great customer service today by calling other stores to check whether they had the product that your customer really wanted. You have demonstrated that you value customer satisfaction which is one of our core values". Be an example to your employees in terms of what counts as a true recognition and they will follow. Also, make sure to delete recognitions that are not following your guidelines.
Keep it timely
The Recognition Center was built to help explore, discover, and promote recognition within your organization. The Recognition Center can be found by clicking "Recognition" in the top menu. Below is a screenshot of the recognition center:
Recognition TV Display Mode
A great way to give recognitions more prominence is to keep team members up to date with the accomplishments that their colleagues are being recognized for. That’s why we created the recognition board so that employees stay updated and engaged with the accomplishments their colleagues are being recognized for. It drives home the importance of the recognition program and the company’s core values. Display recognitions in a high traffic area such as in open office space, in the lunchroom or even in your reception area so that visitors can also see your organization’s core values. Recognitions are displayed one at a time and highlight the core value being recognized.
To access the TV Display Mode navigate to the Recognitions tab and click on “TV Display Mode” below the Core Values table on the left side of the screen: .
A new tab will open with the recognition board. You can copy and paste the URL into a new browser to be displayed on a monitor or TV screen without having to login to a 7Geese account.
To display the recognition board using your browser’s full-screen display mode:
- Windows: hit the F11 key if you’re using Windows or ^ + ⌘ + F
- OSX: Hit ^ + ⌘ + F (Control+Cmd+F)
- You can also click on this icon: .
To exit full screen:
- Windows: hit the F11 key again
- OSX: hit the ^ + ⌘ + F (Control+Cmd+F) keys again
- If you used this icon to make the recognition board full-screen then click on this icon or press esc in order to exit the full screen.
TV Mode Settings
Customize your recognition board to how you would like to see them displayed.
To customize your settings, click on the gears icon which will take you to TV Mode Settings.
Rotation Speed: enter the length of time that each recognition will be displayed before the next one appears
Time Range: select which recognitions to display based on time frame from the dropdown menu. Choose between “Latest 25 Recognitions”, “This Month”, or “This Quarter”.
Only From Department: select which department’s recognitions to display
Recognitions are added to the list when the recognition board rotates through all the recognitions in the current one. Once the current list gets to the end, it is updated with any new recognitions that have been given during the time it took to rotate through the list.
If you get this message make your browser wider until the recognition board pops back up again. Also, make sure the browser is tall enough to display the content of the recognition. A good way to make sure that everything can be seen is to make your browser full-screen (see above).
Customizing Core Values
This walkthrough will provide insight on how administrators on the 7Geese platform can create unique recognition badges to reflect core values and culture. You can edit an existing badge or create a new badge on a rolling-basis. 7Geese is pre-populated with core values to help you get started.
You can also have team specific badges. In bigger organizations, each team has its own sub-culture and values so we understand the importance of sending thank-you's specific to the micro-actions. You can create team specific badges to increase camaraderie and engagement within teams that might otherwise only stay internal to that specific team.
Permissions needed: Administrator
Tutorial length: 2 minutes, 14 seconds.
Effectively giving appreciation means keeping recognition pointed, personalized, and timely. Skip generic thank you's and be sure to direct your praise directly to the specific values-based action that was taken. Use the recognition receivers name!
It's also important to think to how they like to be appreciated. Pat on the back, ring of the gong, applause in the middle of the room? Or perhaps a quiet online, recognition. It's all about the receiver, so be sure to personalize your appreciation as much as possible.
Here's a few more tips!
- Specifically mention what was done. How does this action exhibit the behaviors that are important to the values your team upholds? Just saying "you rock" is not sufficient. Why do they rock?!
- Explain how their actions or behaviours made you feel and how it affected you in a positive way. Did it impact others? Talking about impact displays how they're taking steps to engage and collaborate with others, uphold leadership qualities of making team success a priority, and shows others what they too should be expected to uphold.
- Point out how what they did added value to you, the team, or the organization. Or all of the above!
- Select the correct recognition badge that represents the value that was demonstrated in what they did. Don't just pick any random one.
- Make sure you recognize the person as soon they deserve it. Timely recognition is more effective since it's top of mind, drawing attention to the moment something appreciated happened.
Remember, everyone owns organizational culture. You're responsible not just for living it, but helping others shine within it.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further questions or if you believe something is missing, misrepresented, or outdated.