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Mission Versus Purpose: What’s The Difference?

September 14, 2015

Last year, Harvard Business Review published an interesting article, Your Company’s Purpose Is Not Its Mission, Vision or Values, in which the author, Graham Kenny, states: “We hear more and more that organizations must have a compelling ‘purpose’ — but what does that mean? Aren’t there already a host of labels out there that describe organizational direction? Do we need yet another?”

Kenny ultimately agrees that, yes, we do need another way to describe organizational direction, and then he goes on to define a vision statement, mission, values and principles, before asking the key question, “How does purpose differ from all the above?” It’s a great question, and is something our Disney Institute team is asked a lot.

So, what is the difference between an organization’s mission and its common purpose?

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