Interview with Andy Stanley: Purpose, Vision, Mission

Do you know the difference between a purpose, a vision and a mission?

Summary
Transcript
In this exclusive Leadercast Live backstage interview, Andy Stanley – best-selling author, speaker and founder of North Point Ministries -- explains the difference between a mission, a vision and a purpose. Andy says, “They really are distinct.” Whether you’re in the world of non-profits or for-profits, it is important to know the differences. Here’s how Andy differentiates them: A purpose: “A purpose statement is something that's never accomplished. It never goes away. It's really the broadest thing possible.” A vision: “Vision is actually a macro goal that we'll know when we accomplish it, but this is not a 12-month goal or 18-month goal. This is something that is much bigger than that.” A mission: “A mission is simply the blocking and tackling. This is what we do along the way.” Do you have a clear understanding of your organization’s mission, vision and purpose? Share in the comments section below!
A lot of speakers, authors, leaders use the words mission, vision, purpose interchangeably, but they really are distinct and the distinction really is important.

A vision is like a big goal, a world without ALS. When there's no longer any ALS, the world will know that disease has been conquered. Purpose is even broader than that. Purpose is just beneath "to make the world a better place." When a company or an organization is trying to find a purpose statement, this is something that's never accomplished, it never goes away. It's really the broadest thing possible. I think it's Patrick Lencioni who first said, "When you think about the purpose of an organization, just be shy of 'to make the world a better place'." You can't just make the world a better place. There's got to be something distinctive in terms of your business.

So purpose is super-broad. Vision is actually a macro-goal that we'll know when we accomplish it, but this is not a 12-month goal or an 18-month goal. This is something that is much bigger than that. And then mission is simply the blocking and tackling. This is what we do along the way. This is how we do it here. This is what we do along the way.

So they really are important concepts and they really are distinct. And again, in the non-profit world, we get that because again, our profitability is tied to our clarity around these issues. In the marketplace, I think they're equally as important, but convincing marketplace leaders sometimes isn't all that easy.

And yet, the people who've been super-successful, when you look back, especially people who've introduced new products or new services where they essentially had to define for customers, "Okay, what is that? What are you doing? Why is yours any better or any different than the other four of those that I've purchased through the years, or the brand that I've traditionally used?"

So words matter, language matters, reputation matters, but all of that begins with branding, and branding is really, basically, a vision cast for a product or a service. So this whole conversation we've had all day and the themes that we come back to over and over in Leadercast really, really are super-important.

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Andy Stanley

Leadership communicator, best-selling author and founding pastor Andy Stanley inspires tens of thousands of people. Andy founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995, leading six churches in the Atlanta area and a network of 3...

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