If you’ve taken a look at the ‘About Us’ webpage of an organization, you’ve probably come across the vision, mission statement, purpose and goals. At first glance, it seems confusing, doesn’t it? Many of us use the terms interchangeably. Although they may seem like the same thing, there is a fundamental difference among them.

Let’s see how an organization’s vision, mission, purpose, objectives and goals differ from each other.

  1. Navigating The Core Difference


  2. Never Confuse The Vision Statement Again!


  3. A Personal Vision Statement?


Navigating The Core Difference

Before we fast forward to the differences between the various terms, let’s see what each of those terms mean.

What Is Vision?

A vision helps paint a mental image of how you want to see your organization in the future. It acts as a North Star, directing you to your goal. You can picture what the organization needs to do, to be successful in the future. Your vision statement should include what you want to achieve, what targets you want to drive and the measurable impact you’d like to make. For example, empower and streamline women’s economic activities.

What Is A Mission Statement?

Your mission statement describes what you and your organization should do to fulfill your vision. It helps you focus on what really matters as you’re directed toward your vision and purpose. The mission addresses the very reason for your organization’s existence and how it can change the business landscape. For example, create economic opportunities for women across various socio-economic levels and age groups.

What Is A Purpose?

A purpose articulates your organization’s cause—why it exists and how it can make a difference. A purpose guides you in defining your mission and vision statements. It also unifies employees and provides direction to drive an organization’s objectives. For example, to impact women’s lives by creating opportunities for growth and development.

What Are Goals?

Goals are broad and long-term milestones that you need to achieve to fulfill your ‘vision’. They also define the success of your mission statement. For example, increase the number of vocational courses and skill-training programs across the country.

What Are Objectives?

Objectives are targets that are realistic, specific and measurable. They help you achieve your goals over a certain period of time. You set objectives to ensure that your actions are directed toward your overall goals. For example, increase enrollment of women by 15% in vocational courses and skill-training programs by 2022.

Never Confuse The Vision Statement Again!

A vision is a brief but powerful statement that acts as a driving force for motivation and achievement in an organization. It inspires everyone to commit, persevere and give their best. But there are several organizations out there that confuse visions with mission, purpose, goals and objectives. Listed below are the key differences between the various terms.

  1. Vision Vs. Mission

A vision statement provides a futuristic mental image of an organization while a mission statement describes its objectives and approach to fulfill those objectives. Elements of mission and vision statements often combine to define an organization’s purpose, values and goals.

  1. Vision Vs. Goals

The primary difference between visions and goals is action. Goals are action-oriented that need to produce results and drive business efficiency. A vision is an end in itself. However, visions are long-term while goals are short-term. You continue to define visions as you achieve one goal after another.

  1. Vision Vs. Objectives

A vision provides a direction for your goals while objectives define your goals. It helps define strategies or steps you need to take to achieve goals. By fulfilling an objective, you progress toward your goals and ultimately, your vision.

  1. Vision Vs. Purpose

It’s quite tricky to navigate the difference between purpose and vision as both highlight the underlying reason for an organization’s existence. However, a purpose reminds you about why you do something while vision tells you how to do it. Vision aligns with goals and mission and empowers you to achieve your objectives. Put simply, a purpose acts as a starting point while vision acts as a destination.

A Personal Vision Statement?

Successful professionals not only help organizations fulfill their mission and vision but also create personal mission and vision statements. If you’re curious about identifying your larger purpose and want to set objectives and goals, sign up for Harappa Education’s Discovering Purpose course. The Elements of Purpose framework will help you identify your larger purpose in life. The Best Possible Self framework will teach you how to envision your ideal future self. Start the journey towards discovering your purpose today and create your journey to success.

Explore topics such as Guide to Goal-Setting, What are Career GoalsHow to Achieve Goals & the Difference Between Objectives and Goals from Harappa Diaries and successfully set your personal and professional goals.

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