Means to End

Define and communicate Vision, Mission, Strategy, Goals, Tactics & Objectives
Contributed by

Andreas Spanner

Published September 08, 2021

What Is Means to End?

The Means to End practice helps define, differentiate, and communicate an organisational Vision, Strategy, and the associated tactical implementations through projects and initiatives (Tactics). Participants define and explore the relationship and dependencies between the Visionary, Strategic and Tactical layers.

Why Do Means to End?

Taking time to explore the meaning and correlation between Mission, Vision, Strategies, Goals and tactical Objectives helps organisations to create clarity and empower their teams and people, which in turn creates a culture in support of establishing a high performing organisation (Ron Westrum).

How to do Means to End?

Firstly, for this exercise, clarify the differences between Objective (Tactical layer, short term) and Goal (strategic layer, longer term). Different frameworks have different defintions, so it's important to level set prior to starting this practice.

Start off with the Visionary Layer with a 10-for-10 brainstorm or even better with a Start with Why.

Ask the group:

  • Vision: What will our organisation / team look like in 2 to 5 years from now? How does it serve our purpose?
  • Mission: What are we doing on a daily basis to achieve our Vision and live our purpose?

Remove duplicates and consolidate the Vision statement into one. Then de-duplicate the Mission statements and vote on the top 5 (max) in support of the Vision. Ensure that each Mission directly and clearly links to the Vision statement. If it doesn't it might be in the wrong layer, unrelated or the Vision might be incomplete or out of date.

Then move into the Strategic Layer. First the strategic goals need to be established, for which you can use another 10-for-10 brainstorm, or better Start at the End. Once the Goals are agreed upon, map the Goals back to the Vision statement and articulate how each goal supports the Vision. Once the goals and Vision are clearly linked, the next step is an Impact Mapping exercise that establishes the related strategies linked to each goal. Once all goals and corresponding strategies are established, the strategies need to be linked back to the Mission and make sense.

Once you are done, pat yourself on the back. The hardest part is complete.

The Tactical Layer is concerned with how to implement the strategy and what short-term objectives or OKRs to hit in support of the long-term goals.

Existing projects can now be mapped to the tactics section to validate your strategy and ensure whether existing initiatives are still in alignment with the strategy. If you need new ideas you can run a How Might We ideation session. This will allow you to get a fresh view and to establish new tactical approaches to achieve the short team objectives or key results. Important again is that the mapping with the strategic layer (strategy & goals) is completed to stay aligned.

Look at Means to End

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