Understanding Mission vs. Purpose

Puzzle Pieces

Part of my weekly reflection time as a Coach with Building Champions is to look back at my coaching sessions from the previous week and see if I can identify any common themes. I do this for two reasons. First, I am continually trying to improve my coaching skills. Second, it allows me to put my finger on the pulse of what is most important to my clients.

This past week, the theme was understanding the difference between a mission statement and a purpose statement.

All of my clients create both of these statements in the process of creating their Business Vision, and almost all of them ask me to explain the difference. Perhaps you’re asking yourself that same question right now.

Let’s look at the definition of both.

A mission statement is a written declaration of an organization’s specific focus that may shift over time as the market and environment changes.  It answers the questions “What do we do?” and “For whom do we do it?”

A purpose statement documents the fundamental reason for your existence from a business perspective. It is the motivational force that drives what you do. Purpose goes deeper and will outlast the product you are selling or a business goal you are striving to achieve. In essence, it is your corporate reason for being; why you do what you do.

Now that you have read the definitions, let me ask you to read them again, paying special attention to the bold words in each definition.

Do you see it? Mission states the “what” and “for whom.” Purpose explains the “why.”

Creating a vision which includes a mission statement and a purpose statement is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do for your business. There are a lot of reasons why.

Externally, it allows your prospective customers to truly understanding why choosing you is their only option.  This, in turn, increases your conversation ratio, allowing for less time looking for clients and more time providing services the ones you have.

Your mission and purpose will also help your company internally, providing a steady compass to keep you on track and focused as you navigate the challenges ahead.

I highly recommend you take the time to clearly articulate both of these pieces of your Vision.  It is an incredibly worthwhile investment in the future of your business.

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  • http://www.johngallagherblog.com John Gallagher

    Kristen, this is very helpful and helps me to clarify a couple things I am working on with regards to my personal vision as well.  Thanks! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gricha-Venkov/100002032510470 Gricha Venkov

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the topic of mission and purpose, Kristen! I’ve found it very clear and helpful.

  • Hilbil2000

    Thank you for your clear explanation of the difference between mission and vision Kristen; it was very helpful.

  • sri

    im a student of madras university. thank you so much. this paticular piece of information is very very useful and it gives the difference in a simple and effective manner. thank u so much. gud work!

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  • http://jarodb.x10.mx Jarod Billingslea

    Wow man thanks for reminding me about this. I forgot about the meaning of purpose even though I read it all the time in my GTD system lol.

    • Kristen Gielow

      Glad you liked it!

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