What’s the difference between a Mission Statement and a Goal?


SUMMARY: In my opinion there is a profound difference between a ‘mission statement’ and a ‘goal’! One is achievable as one is meant to walk in while the other is something that we may never reach as we constantly press towards the mark.

For some context I would like to begin with a bit of poetry that inspired me to look at this from a more mature perspective:

Watch your thoughts: they become words.
Watch your words: they become actions.
Watch your actions: they become habits.
Watch your habits: they become character.
Watch your character: it becomes your destiny.

There is a difference between a Mission Statement and a Goal!

I have recently read an article titled “Google’s HR boss explains why the company can never live up to its mission statement, and doesn’t want to” by Richard Feloni and it became clear to me why so many firms fail to last a generation beyond their founders.

“Google’s HR boss explains why the company can never live up to its mission statement, and doesn’t want to” by Richard Feloni:

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google in 1998, they gave it a straightforward mission statement: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

It’s crucial, says Google’s SVP of People Operations Laszlo Bock in his new book “Work Rules!,” that the company can never actually achieve this mission, “as there will always be more information to organize and more ways to make it useful.”

Source: Business Insider

Now That Google Is A Mature Company Could Google’s Public Mission Statement Be Improved?

A ‘mission statement’ for a coder would be synonymous with the ‘technical goal’ for the product but a ‘mission statement’ for a company should be more focused on the purity and forbearance of its values, which determines the ethics, and the mechanics of the journey towards the goal.

While many companies get this wrong by focusing on the product description (marketing) than the real vehicle required to survive longterm.

The truth is that the correct way to define a mission statement is to think of it more as an ethical and strategic compass a bit like a ships rudder that responds and helps to steer the ship even when life tries to veer it off course. We may not get to the destination but we can constantly adjust our course to towards our true north.

In my opinion Google’s should amend its product descriptive mission statement to include the character of its corporate motto “Don’t be evil” for it is this achievable mission statement that will give Google the competitive advantage to press towards the founders original goals.

Mature companies are not startups and their mission statement should focus more on the company’s ethos than its service descriptive marketing for it is the selling of the true character of a company that maintains long lasting relationships which are not easily broken.

Mission Statement
Image Source: Slideshare

by Peter Malaczynski

Founder @HAGOOLE

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