by Dr. Rich Weigel
In my opinion, we tend to use destiny-shaping words quite poorly. The intent of this article is not to say that my way of exploring the following ideas is the only way, the best way, or even the final word on the subject. It is simply to provide a potential framework for thinking about the ideas of Values, Vision, Mission, and Goals.
Every organization is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.
~ W. Edwards Deming
Values: are individual beliefs that motivate people to act one way or another. They serve as a guide, filter, or influence for human behavior.
- Values guide your decision-making process and how you think. As a Christian, your values should align with the values articulated throughout the Bible. Values show what you are passionate about, what is important, and what qualities or ideas or attributes drive your actions. Values are a very important filter for everything you do.
Vision: is a public declaration that describes what you want in the future–what you hope to achieve and what are the expected results from the work that you are doing or want to do. A Vision IS a future reality that has not yet come into being.
- A Vision is normally made into a statement with overarching aspirations of a hope, dream, perception, or ideal of what is to be achieved, done, or accomplished within a certain period of time. It is a conceptualized future.
Mission: is a commitment. It’s the expectations for the work each day. It is a written declaration for you or your organization’s core purpose.
- Mission statements serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not. A mission is something to be accomplished whereas a vision is something to be pursued from that accomplishment.
Goals: are “dreams with deadlines.” Goals are the strategic steps toward achieving your vision. Setting goals is, and should be, as much a spiritual exercise as it is a mental exercise.
- Goals are the ideas of a commitment to take action in order to reach a specific attainment. They are a focus for life and work based on what is wanted. They are the propellent for actions that bridge the gap between the current reality and the vision.
We often hear people talk about goal setting, smart or smart-er goals, life goals, business goals, financial goals, etc., well before they put the fundamentals of destiny shaping words in place. When you take the time to logically think this through, why would you want to set a goal for something when the attainment of that goal may not get you any closer to where you want to be in a few years? Or, why set a goal that would require you to change your Christian values? And why set a goal that you’re not willing to commit to and pray about every day? Too many people want to set goals before taking a serious reflective exercise on values, vision, and mission.
Let’s use a fictitious goal as an example. “We will produce the majority of the world’s Sprockets.” (With apologies to The Jetsons.) Without values, we might be willing to use poor materials, slave labor, or shoddy workmanship. After all, we want to make the majority of the world’s sprockets, but the values of quality, integrity, or fair treatment for employees may not be important. If there is a vision for the future, we will keep making the same product and before we know it, Cogswell’s Cogs will replicate our sprocket-making process and take our market share. Without a mission statement related to service, integrity, workmanship, safety, timelines, or customer satisfaction, we may have issues with dishonesty in pricing, kickbacks, and user injuries which will lead to lawsuits, customer complaints, and poor quality. In other words, just setting a goal for making the majority of the world’s sprockets is pretty lame.
As a Christian Coach, you want to think through this process. It’s not quite as simple as “What do you want to do” or “Let’s set a smart goal” and then leaving it there. Goals should fit within the bigger picture of values, vision, and mission. Here are some “fairly” simple processes for each.
Help your client to put their Values into a document. Start by giving them a list of “value words” that helps them to reflect on what they truly stand for. You see, “greed, pride, and lying” are values, but hopefully not the values of anyone you coach. (Proverbs 6:16-19) And Christian values are quite easy to find throughout the Bible or with a simple Internet search. (Mark 12:28-31) Asking your client to clarify their values should not take much time and given the opportunity, most people enjoy that simple exercise.
Coaching your client to build their Vision is probably the more time-consuming yet fruitful destiny revealing exercise. The key is to ask great coaching questions. For example:
- Q1 – What would you like to do, experience, or achieve if you had absolutely no fear about your career, work, job, business, or ambition?
- Q2 – What are some things you have already done in your life that you truly loved doing?
- Q3 – Pretend you are 99 years old and looking back. What are some of the highlights of your life that you’re the most pleased with?
- Q4 – What are some things that you truly do NOT like to do – no matter how much someone would pay you to do them?
- Q5 – With money being no obstacle – what are the things you would like to do where you feel you would be honoring God with your work, job, business, organization, efforts, or actions?
- Q6 – You’re standing before Jesus Christ at the end of the world and he asks you, “What did you do in your life that was worthy?” How will you answer him?
Those questions along with your follow-up questions from your client’s answers will help build a vision. From those answers, you can develop a vision statement or frame a visionary document that needs a strategic plan as a follow-up. Either way, the answers to vision-related questions will help your client to look to the future and build a destiny-shaping picture.
Proverbs 29:18 (AMP) – Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].
Developing a Mission statement is fairly easy for one person but gets more difficult the greater the number of people who are involved. A mission statement is what your client, or a group, is willing to do to get a certain result. It is not about the future, but what your client is committed to do right now without compromise. In other words, the mission statement is today’s actions about HOW your client, or the organization, will do something significant and measurable.
A mission statement must have a clear expectation. It should have a result. It is measurable and focused on the core of the business. Examples of some mission statements are:
- “We save people money so they can live better.” – Walmart
- “To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.” – American Red Cross
- “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” – LinkedIn
There are plenty of bad mission statements and the bad ones are easy to ignore or forget. Personally, I’ve always had a problem with most school mission statements as about 90% of them have a statement similar to: “We provide an environment where all students can achieve success.” Really? Then why do so many kids fail? How do you define or measure success? How do people commit to that? Never write a mission statement that people won’t commit to performing.
Here are some questions to use that should help your client frame a mission statement. Write the answers to the following questions and look for keywords that your client can commit to. When you have those words, put them together into a statement that your client can get behind.
- What is your cause? Why do you exist? What is your primary business? What is it that you should do every day? Who are the people whose lives you touch? Why? What is the product or service you provide each day? What roles do you have? What are your relationships? What are your primary actions? Who should you serve? What impact will you have? What changes as a result of your efforts? What philosophies do you employ? How do you differ? What image do you want to convey? What will you commit to doing?
Finally, it is time to set some goals. Goals should be designed with new actions or behaviors that bridge the gap between the current reality and the future ideal. There are multiple goal-setting processes that you can use but if you would like to learn more about a detailed and effective goal-setting process, let me know. I’ve a short form and an extensive 20 step goal-setting template that is very effective. But again, there are many variations for goal setting out there.
Setting Goals without first setting the VVM has a tendency to feel good, but it does not get the comparable traction that comes from first establishing the VVM. And while people often “think” they know what they want, that is often not the case. That is why you need to coach people through this process.
Finally, the ‘VVM – then G’ that is not written down – is just a wish. While wishes are great for birthday candles and songs, they are not effective for personal growth or business plans. And without a commitment to pray for your ‘VVM – then G’ – it is just an exercise. Without prayer, your client’s destiny-shaping words have a far less chance of success.