Mission Statement v. Goals
June 3, 2014 4:47 PM   Subscribe

What is the difference between an organization's mission statement and its stated goals? I've seen Websites, for example, that have the organization's mission statement as well as the organization's goals listed in separate areas and I'm not getting the difference.
posted by longhaultrucker to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
there's a lot of overlap, but a mission statement is frequently more general and anodyne ("we support truth, justice and the american way"), and goals, by their very nature, have to be at least somewhat specific.
posted by bruce at 4:51 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Let's say a company's mission statement is to preserve the wildlife in a specific locale. Its stated goals might be the means by which they hope to accomplish that overall mission: raising awareness about ecology; training local youth to become stewards of that particular ecosystem; organizing monthly clean ups and recycling initiatives; conducting research on local flora and fauna, etc.
posted by Hermione Granger at 4:52 PM on June 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is a difference without a distinction. It's mostly bullshit and public relations.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:03 PM on June 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

In my organization, our mission statement answers the question, "What is the difference we hope to make in the world?"

Goals are the "deltas": what needs to change from where we are today to where we come closer to our mission?

Yes, it's partly bullshit, but it's also a way for volunteer leaders to focus on issues that matter.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 5:06 PM on June 3, 2014

The mission statement is a broad statement of purpose. Goals tell you whether you're accomplishing it.
posted by ottereroticist at 5:06 PM on June 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

One way to look at it is thus:

Mission Statement is "What the Company wants to do when it grows up" (or the mark it wishes to leave on the world)

Goals are "The methods/plan with which to achieve said Mission Statement."
posted by Twain Device at 6:10 PM on June 3, 2014

This is a difference without a distinction. It's mostly bullshit and public relations.
Agreed. I once worked at a company that had a mission statement, short term goals and long term aspirations. We all had to memorize all of them and be ready to explain how our role helped the company achieve them.
posted by Brian Puccio at 4:23 PM on June 4, 2014

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