with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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You nail your mission, vision, values, strategy and tactics, and you will get unity, spirit, meaning, inspiration, direction, alignment and results. And that is a high performance team!

G’day Chiefs

In today’s minisode I’m going to explain the difference between Mission, Vision, Purpose, Values, and Strategy, as well as Tactics, Epic Goals, and Operating Rhythm. We're going to bring all those together to give you some clarity on what's what and a few tips and pointers and how to make sure you do each one correctly, because if you do them wrong, it can be really detrimental to your organisation, your team, and even your own personal performance.

The caveat to begin with, though, is that this is the Chief Maker's set of definitions, and we've taken these from a whole range of different places over the years. They've stood the test of time for us for 15 years.

Purpose, Mission and Vision

I often find that Mission is used interchangeably with Purpose or a combination of Purpose and vision. Your Purpose is a connection between your inner beliefs as a team and as a group of people that are coming together in a business about what is most important in the world that you are solving through your business. This is your why, like Simon Sinek said, and you should start from there. But it's often called a Mission in its own right. 

JFK in 1961 said, “We are going to go to the moon to claim it for all mankind, for peace and prosperity.” That was their Purpose. Their Vision was to put man on the moon, and bring them safely back to earth again within the decade. The goal, actually, was by the end of the decade, which he sadly never got to see happen.

So, Purpose is that connection between your inner beliefs about what is important in the world, particularly in your industry, in your profession and your actions. When you get that clear and specific, then you get meaning and inspiration in what you do.

Vision, as opposed to Purpose, is a crystal clear description of the future. It allows all team members to understand what the team or organisation is aiming to achieve at a future date or by a future date. It can be visual and or written, and the best ones I've ever seen are detailed. They're not generalisations. These are detailed descriptions of a business at a particular point in time. When you do that, you get direction and alignment.

Values, Strategy, Tactics and Goals

Values are the principles or standards of behaviour you believe are important. They are what you want to see people doing every single day.

When brought to life, as opposed to left on the walls, they clarify the aspirational and acceptable and unacceptable standards of behaviour. These shape your rituals, traditions, language, and are your guideposts when under pressure. For example, the media might be saying something about you as a business. What you do in that moment, Chief, is you call upon your Values. Lead out of darkness with Values. When you do that, when you get your Values off the walls and into your behaviours, standards and character turn up everywhere and you leave the competition for dead, and you're on your way to achieving your Vision and your Purpose.

So Purpose is why you come to work every day. Vision is the future state, what you're going to look like in the future. Values are how you're going to behave along the journey.

Strategy is how you're going to move along the board or up the pitch or through the market in order to beat your competition, or, at the very least, deliver value. Strategy is the principles you will follow at a business-wide level to stand out from your peers. The difference that makes the difference. It will deliver for your customers and it will create value for your owners. An example is that you choose to be best at price or quality, but you really can't be both.

The more time you spend on strategy, the more you create distinct points of difference for you. And that might be distribution in the market. For Chief Maker, it's things like in our mini MBA, we have an NPS of 91. We work on your business immediately so that there is an immediate return on investment. No-one else does that. We guarantee results. But that's our strategy. It's how we stand out from our peers.

Tactics are the individual steps you'll take in order to execute your strategy. These will be the sub-projects and the business as usual work that you will do. So these can be business improvement projects or smaller operational improvements. You do that, you get focused and you drive momentum. The Goals are the targets and the KPIs that inform you of your progress and achievements. They're just the things, say, hey, we've done this, excellent, let's keep moving, let's set a new target. These are the numbers and the evidence that will tell us we have achieved our vision.

And here's how it rolls up, Chief. If you have all your business improvement and operational improvements and you do your business as usual work operations and customer service, you will have executed your strategy. If you've executed your strategy, you should have the vision achieved. If you've executed the vision, you've got your purpose done.

Other resources you can find in our treasure chest of content are:


Operating Rhythm Download

High Performance Teams Series

Stay epic,