To us, Direction is an all encompassing term covering Vision, Goals and Objectives, Strategy, Plans or any other bit of jargon which communciates moving from here to there.
Let's attempt some definitions for these components
Your VISION is a view of where an organisation, team or individual leader most hopes to be in the future. Many of you who read this may of heard of the NASA cleaner who told people he was helping to put a man on the moon. A compelling vision will help with employee engagement. A Vision Statement is aspirational and shouldn't be confused with a Misson or Purpose statement (see below) which deals with the here and now.
GOALS & OBJECTIVES are often used interchangeably. A quick tour of the internet will suggest that Goal is used in broader, more abstract terms as a way to realise your Vision. Objectives are specific milestones that you reach on the way to achieving your goal and are best implemented using the SMART* methodology.
A STRATEGY is a plan of action designed to achieve an overall aim or the results that you want to achieve. The strategy determines HOW you are going to be successful. A Strategy should be very flexible and open for adaptation and change when required.
The Strategy helps with guiding actions and guiding decision making. So, strategy development should be a project that is undertaken seriously as the consequences of a Strategy that is poorly developed, poorly defined or poorly supported has immense consequences for any type of organisation.
Our Strategy facilitation expert, Brendan Dunphy, has used his extensive experience in helping organisations develop effective strategies to identify Five Factors which differentiate the very best (the living, breathing type) strategies from the mediocre (the ones that sit in PowerPoint decks on hard drives).
A PLAN on the other hand, is a means to achieve a definitive outcome. Your Plan is most useful when the highest priority is staying well organised and keeping things on track, more usually in an operational setting.
Finally, PURPOSE or MISSION underpins all this with a sense of why an organisation or team exists. It answers the question; What are you here for?
In our experience, the most effective leaders usually have a strong sense of their purpose.
Organisations and Teams which have a strong sense of purpose are more effective and produce better results. Our Team Development specialist, David Mason, has developed this TOOL to help you develop a compelling Team Purpose Statement.