Across boardrooms and business media, the words “purpose,” “vision,” and “strategy” get tossed around regularly—without clear definition. Here’s our take on what they mean and how they can impact an organization:
An organization’s purpose defines why the organization exists in the world.
A well-crafted purpose statement stays true over time: it should be specific and unique enough to be meaningful, but far-reaching enough to make room for expanding possibilities.
It declares an ambition, while being authentic and ownable. It should resonate on every level—individual, team, company, and society.
And overall, it is the organization’s highest ideal—the North Star that guides smart business decisions and inspires employees.
Our purpose: In a world that too easily settles for less, we believe it’s worthy work to envision, believe in, and fight for greatness. That’s the work we do every day.
A vision is just as it sounds: Something you can see in your mind’s eye, but is currently just out of reach.
While a purpose is enduring, a vision usually has a timestamp on it. It’s rooted in making the purpose real. A purpose is a state; a vision is a destination.
It’s lofty yet specific, actionable, and clear—when a company has reached their vision, they’ll know it.
Thus a strong vision statement articulates a near-term aspiration for an imagined yet attainable goal—one that employees can rally behind, and check their everyday work against.
Our vision: We will make an impact at billion-person scale by 2025.
Strategy is the plan for making the vision real, breaking it down into actionable steps that can be measured and adjusted.
We’ve found that great companies, and the leaders who steward them, declare a handful of bold moves as anchors for strategy. Then they work with their teams to build the initiatives to deliver.
For example, a bold move in the strategy of SYPartners is: Launch a products business that can scale the transformative ideas of the company.