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Goal Setting and the Mission Statement

Goal Setting and the Mission Statement

Author: James Howard

This lesson outlines the key aspects of goal setting in business.

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Hello and welcome to this tutorial on Goal Setting and the Mission Statement. Now as always these tutorials, please feel free to fast forward, pause, or rewind as many times as you need in order to get the most out of the time you're going to spend here. So let me ask you a question, why is it that we as humans set goals? And more importantly as it pertains to this lesson, why is it that businesses set goals?

We'll they create targets for us to aim for and give us direction. Now during this tutorial, we're going to talk about goals. We're also going to talk about the purposes of goals. We're going to ask the question is it goal or is it mission? And we're also going to look at a mission statement example.

The key terms for this lesson are going to be goals, corporate culture, and mission statement. So let's get started by talking about goals. Now, a goal as we're going to define it is the wished for conclusion of a process.

No matter what it is, if it's a long term or short term, where is it that we want to be when we get done with this process. The goal may be for example, washing my car. Or the goal may be making my car look the shiniest and best on the block. And that would be our goal when we wash the car. That helps define where we want to be when we get done washing the car-- that process.

Now, businesses depend on something called strategic management-- effective goal setting. Now, it doesn't really matter what size organization you have. You're always going to have and need some type of goal setting and strategic management to help you understand where it is we need to go as a business. Now, there are three different types of goals.

There are long term goals that are five years or more into the future. The five year plan, for instance. Intermediate goals that are from one to five years away-- where I want to be again within this time period-- one to five years. And short term goals-- where do I want to be in less than a year.

So my five year or my long term goal, maybe I want to finish my bachelor's degree. My intermediate goal would be a want to get into a particular university. And my short term goal-- less than a year-- would be I want to get an A in this class, or I want to get as many college credits as I can before I actually enroll in my first on campus college class.

Now, these aren't separate and distinct necessarily. They could, and should relate to each other. For instance, I could start with something like we mentioned before, I want to get as many credits as I can before I enroll in my first on campus class. That would be my short term goal we just mentioned. That would directly relate to that intermediate goal I mentioned-- getting into a particular school.

Having these college credits and showing that extra effort could help me get into an intermediate goal-- that particular college that I want to get into. And then getting into that college would help my long term goal of graduating from a particular college. Now the purposes of goals, well, there's a lot of different purposes.

One, they provide a direction for management. As a management, you need to understand where the company is going so you can direct your department, your employees, towards that goal. That way we can direct the efforts based on what the goal is for the company. It also helps managers allocate resources so that we can again align with the goals that have been passed down from top management, and those goals set by the company.

Goals can also help define corporate culture. Because our goals are going to be directly aligned to how we see ourselves as a business. What is the culture of that business? Are we all about customer service? Are we all about providing the best quality product out there? Are we about providing the absolute lowest cost to our customers?

So you can see how that culture can help define what the goals may be for a particular business. It also serves as a means to assess performance. We'll talk about appraisals here a little later in another tutorial. But employees can be then evaluated on how they are doing-- how are they performing as it relates to the goal of the company-- getting everybody in the company to one particular spot-- that long term intermediate or short term goals.

Now one of the ways we do this, where we help define that goal, and pass it to the employees, is through a mission statement. Now, a mission statement is the official description of the intention of an organization. And we'll take a look at one of these a little bit later in this tutorial.

But first, I want to take a look at goals or mission. Now, the thing about goals is they're going to be different between organizations. And they're going to be driven largely by what the mission is of that organization. The mission statement can help drive choices on what types of goals it is that we are going to pursue.

That mission statement-- again, that thing that tells us what it is that we are all about. Or as we defined it before, the intention of the organization-- what is it we're here to do. So if we're the low cost leader-- we're going to provide our customers the lowest possible cost, we don't want to have goals that are contrary to that mission statement. We don't want to have a goal for instance, to build the world's tallest most elaborate building as a headquarters.

That would be contrary to our mission statement. That would cost money that would then have to be passed on to the customers and directly violate that low cost leader mission that we've set for ourselves.

Now, mission statement and corporate culture are very, very closely related. In fact, they help define each other. Now corporate culture is the commonly understood and accepted history, ethics, ideals, and attitudes within an organization.

So you can see how being a low cost leader and having a corporate culture that helps define that can really help corporate culture and mission define and support each other. If we have a corporate culture and a mission statement that are out of sync with each other, one of the other is going to suffer. We will not have the corporate culture that we want. And the mission statement will simply be words on a page instead of an actual statement and living document of what it is we do as an organization.

So let's take a look at a mission statement. So if you would stay with me, I'm going to read you the mission statement of Barnes & Noble. And I want you to listen and see if you can pick out those things that helps define corporate culture, and those things that can help define the goals that Barnes & Noble might set for itself based purely on the mission statement.

Our mission is to operate the best specialty retail business in America, regardless of the product we sell. Because the product we sell is books, our aspirations must be consistent with the promise and the ideals of the volumes which line our shelves. To say our mission exist independent of the product we sell is to demean the importance and the distinction of being booksellers.

As booksellers, we are determined to be the very best in our business, regardless of the size, pedigree, or inclinations of our customers. We will continue to bring our industry nuances of style and approaches to book selling, which are consistent with our evolving aspirations. Above all, we expect to be a credit to the communities that we serve, as well as a resource to our customers. And a place where our dedicated booksellers can grow and prosper. Toward this end, we will not only listen to our customers and our booksellers, but embrace the idea that the company is at their service.

That's the mission for Barnes & Noble. As you can see, there's a lot of really big language there about what we are. What are our employees? Are employees who work at our retail store are booksellers. We give them a very distinct name-- rise them above the simple sales for retail folks. You can see how this mission statement helps define what is the corporate culture of Barnes & Noble.

So what is it we talked about today? Well, we look at the purposes of goals. Why is it that we as humans and company's make goals. We also looked at is it a goal or is it a mission? And we looked at a mission statement example.

As always folks, I want to thank you for spending some time with me. I hope you had a good time and learned something. And I will see you next time.

Terms to Know
Corporate Culture

The commonly understood and accepted history, ethics, ideals and attitudes within an organization.


The wished for conclusion of a process.

Mission Statement

The official description of the intention of an organization.