Tag Archives: aims

Vision, Mission, and Aim

Having a vision, mission, and aim are very important in bringing coherence to your organization. You can call them by different names but combining them or collapsing them is not the best idea. It can lead to confusion and allow you to miss or avoid one or another of them. And the different names may confuse you as well.

Vision

The vision is your dream. What you want the world to be. On a grand scale, it’s why your organization exists. This dream could have led you in many different directions, but the dream would be the same. It is generally unchanging. This dream, your vision of the better world, is what will keep you and your organization moving forward when there is too much work to do and adversity of one kind or another has struck.

Many people want to skip the vision. It might be too heart wrenching and emotionally revealing. It might be too small, too embarrassingly simple. Many of the most successful business leaders, entrepreneurs, and large corporations have dreams, outlined in clearly stated vision statements, that rival the best of the non-profit organizations.

Mission

Your mission is how you will contribute to making the dream come true. It describes your sphere of  influence, the relationship between you and your vision. While the vision is a dream, the mission is action focused. It stakes out a territory. It says this is my subject, my industry, my work. This is what I’m going to do.

Your mission may change as the world changes and as you accomplish more. A mission statement should be reviewed every few years to determine if it is still relevant to your dream and if it is producing the changes you wanted to produce.

Aim

An aim is often called a goal or an objective. It is what you produce or accomplish. It is tangible and something that can be measured. If you can’t measure it, you can’t accomplish it.

Aims change frequently as you reach milestones and complete the work you set out to do. Aims should be realistic and based on reasonable expectations. An aim must be something you can point to with pride when you accomplish it. You must be able to see it. Your Vision is the dream that keeps you going when things are bleak and accomplishing your aim provides the daily satisfaction.

Where to Start

Sometimes it is easiest to start with your aim. It is tangible and you probably have some experience with it. Then define your mission, your relationship to the larger world, and then your vision.

On the other hand, idealists often have a dream and search around for a mission, their place to be in the world. Then they find a product or service that is needed in that niche.

But in the end, if you avoid your dream, work may be drudgery. If you avoid your mission, your relationship to the world will be fuzzy and confused. If you avoid defining a clear aim, you risk not just missing the target but having no target.

Consensus, Compromise, or Pay Offs?

The board of a wildlife federation reaches consensus on a plan to save a threatened wild bird’s habitat by deleting the budget for legal action. A Senate committee unanimously recommends proposed legislation after amending it until all the committee members have something they want but that is only tangentially related. A local bike trail organization calls off its protests against a new parking lot when it is promised a wider bike path on a major street.

Is this the same kind of push and pull that is required to reach consensus? Rather obviously, I’m going to say no.

All these solutions are compromises and payoffs that will not move any of these groups toward their aims as effectively as if they had built a consensus. The wildlife federation board has an action plan with no teeth. The Senate has produced a cluttered resource-wasting legislative proposal for actions that have no clear aim. The bike trail group has shown themselves to be easily bought and their values open to manipulation.

A consensus decision is characterized by its ability to move the group toward its aim because each member consents only when they can actively support and implement the proposed action. The proposal may not be comprehensive or ideal but under the circumstances, in the eyes of each member, it should be both effective and the most effective that can be achieved. By definition, compromises and payoffs do not reach this standard.

The wildlife federation decision may well discourage action altogether and make the organization look foolish. The cluttered legislative proposal with all its aim-irrelevant provisions, is unlikely to be supported, and if passed, not implemented. In the bike trail group where members often have strong social values, even one trade-off will weaken their crucial support for the organization.

Organizations are built by and composed of individual members. Compromises and pay-offs discourage the support of members If the aim of the organization is to be achieved, it can only be achieved by its members, still united as individuals, after the decisions have been made.

Building Consent — Compromise or Payoffs?

On the demands of its membership, but failing at building consent, the board of a wildlife federation passes a controversial plan to save a wild bird’s threatened habitat but then quietly deletes the budget for legal action. A Senate committee unanimously recommends proposed legislation after amending it until all the committee members have added unrelated perks for their constituencies, bloating the budget with cost overruns. A local bicycle-path organization calls off its protests against a huge, new parking lot when the city promises a wider path in new legislation.

Is this just the push and pull required to reach consent? Rather obviously, I’m going to say no. The wildlife federation board adopted a plan with no teeth. The senate committee has produced a cluttered resource-wasting legislative proposal for actions that have no clear aim. The bicycle-path group has proved themselves easily bought and their values open to manipulation.

All these decisions are failures at building consent. They are compromises and payoffs that will not move any of these groups toward their aims.

A good decision results when each member consents to actively support and implement the proposed action because it moves the group toward its aim. Even in these organizations where the group cannot use consent decision-making effectively — they are too large to deliberate together — the smaller leadership groups could. By building consent, they could have made more effort at good solutions that met all their aims.

Instead, the wildlife federation decision has discouraged action and made the organization look foolish. The cluttered legislative proposal with all its aim-irrelevant provisions, is unlikely to be passed by the larger legislative body, and if passed, not implemented. In the bicycle-path group, in which members often have strong social values, even one trade-off will weaken crucial support for the organization.

Consensus, Compromises, or Pay Offs?

The board of a wildlife federation reaches consensus on a plan to save a threatened wild bird’s habitat by deleting the budget for legal action. A senate committee unanimously recommends proposed legislation after amending it until all the committee members have something they want but that is only tangentially related. A local bike trail organization calls off its protests against a new parking lot when it is promised a wider bike path on a major street.

Is this the same kind of push and pull that is required to reach consensus? Rather obviously, I’m going to say no.

All these solutions are compromises and payoffs that will not move any of these groups toward their aims as effectively as if they had built a consensus. The wildlife federation board’s action plan has no teeth. The senate has produced a cluttered resource-wasting legislative proposal for actions that have no clear aim. The bike trail group has shown themselves to be easily bought and their values open to manipulation.

A consensus decision is characterized by its ability to move the group toward its aim because each member consents only when they can actively support and implement the proposed action. The proposal may not be comprehensive or ideal but under the circumstances, in the eyes of each member, it should be the most effective that can be achieved. By definition, compromises and payoffs do not reach this standard.

The wildlife federation decision may well discourage action altogether and the organization may seem foolish. The cluttered legislative proposal with all its aim-irrelevant provisions, is unlikely to be supported, and if passed, not implemented. In the bike trail group where members often have strong social values, even one trade-off will weaken crucial support for the organization.

Organizations are built by and composed of members. Compromises and pay-offs discourage member support.  If the aim of the organization is to be achieved, its members must still be united after a decision has been made.