You'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't) by how many smart business people don't really know the difference between a mission statement, objectives, goals, strategies, executions and tactics and incorrectly use some of these terms interchangeably. This not only adds to everyone's confusion, it's just plain unnecessary. Learning when and how to use each term isn’t difficult and will enhance both the communication process and the outcome. Here are simple definitions and examples using a business called YOUR Company that produces items called yourproducts:
MISSION - A mission is a statement of what the company wants to ultimately achieve, the future end-result. It is a what, versus a how, and can correctly be called a vision statement
OBJECTIVES AND GOALS - Here are two terms that can be used interchangeably. Similar to but less encompassing than a mission statement, they are achievement-based whats, not hows. They can be qualitative or quantitative, though the more measurable the results, the better to determine if and when the desired result has been achieved. Though there is only one mission, there can be several objectives or goals that should first be achieved in order to achieve the mission.
STRATEGY - Strategies are the plans, methods or actions that direct how to achieve the mission and/or objectives or goals. Strategists are tasked with thinking of how to achieve the objectives/goals versus tacticians who focus on what to do,
EXECUTION AND TACTICS - These two are also whats, not hows, and, like objectives vs. goals, they are similar but they differ in scale. They are what are done to coordinate and deliver to a strategy. Executions usually refer to utilizing the higher-level vehicles (e.g., print, TV, web/social media) as compared to tactics that are more specific as to what will be done on or within those vehicles.
Here's a simple example of how these terms work together:
MISSION: To make ABC Frozen Treats the country's top seller of premium ice cream.
OBJECTIVES/GOALS: Achieve market share leadership in the premium ice cream segment; be known as the ice cream that’s worth the price.
STRATEGY: Convince consumers that ABC Frozen Treats' ice cream is the best premium ice cream by associating with high-end purchasers (people and business entities).
EXECUTION: Social media and targeted online ads using celebrity endorsers.
TACTICS: Sample ABC Frozen Treats' ice cream in high-end shopping malls; Put ABC Frozen Treats' ice cream on the menu in high-end restaurants.
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