I have spoken to more than a few church leaders on the topic of strategic planning over the years. It’s almost always necessarily to periodically revisit the definition of the different components of a strategy. It’s definitely necessary to explore, understand, and explain when beginning a strategic planning effort with a new church or other organization.
What is the difference between mission, vision, and strategy? Put another way, how do these components relate to one another? Is there a hierarchy?
I like to begin with the Performance Cycle.
I wrote a post back in January 2009 on The Performance Cycle as a leadership model. It begins with Stakeholder Needs. In a clockwise rotation from there are Strategy, Systems/Processes/Methods, and Results. For a full explanation on the Performance Cycle, click on one of the links I’ve provided and take a look. It’s a pretty quick read.
For this post, my focus is the Strategy and its components. In fact, the quick answer to “What’s the difference between mission, vision, and strategy?” is, the mission and vision are two components of the strategy. Make sense?
In the context of the Performance Cycle, the Strategy is the “plan” for meeting the Stakeholder Needs. The Strategy is made up of several components:
- Mission – The statement that describes what the church is trying to accomplish. All Christian churches have basically the same mission … to “reach the lost.”
- Vision – The statement describing how the church is going to accomplish the mission.
- Core Values – The key beliefs and/or statements of fundamental principles that are “non-negotiables” for the church.
- Critical Strategies – The highest-level objectives that begin to break the plan down into its different and distinct areas of focus.
- Key Objectives – The more detailed actions identified under each critical strategy.
When asked this question, this is how I think about it and explain it.
Does this do it for you? Are you aware of another way to explain how mission, vision, and strategy relate to one another? Post a comment!