July 26

Is There a Relationship Between Purpose and Mission?


I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t general confusion about the definitions of purpose and mission, and the relationship between them (if any). Even as I write this, I’m not a 100 percent sure, and I’m asking for help. 

Is purpose the “why” a person or organization specifically exists? Whether your answer is “yes” or “no,” please make your case for it by suggesting edits to support your answer using the Authentic Leadership Foundation’s purpose as an example: We exist to help those who want to grow, become as certain about the language, process, and metrics of leadership, as they are certain that 7+3=10.   

The Foundation’s mission is to fund and deliver leadership strength training programs for youth, educators, and adults that are character based, to build the strong leaders our world needs. The definition of mission is “what” a person or organization specifically does to help other people. It is its substance.  

Is there a relationship between purpose and mission? Please use the Foundation’s purpose and mission to make your case either way. 

Why is the definition and relationship between these two words important? If for no other reason than goal setting. If you set goals without knowing your purpose or mission, doesn’t goal setting sound a little ridiculous?

About the author 

Darren Smith

Darren Smith is Co-Founder of the Authentic Leadership Institute. He is a native Texan and a graduate of Dallas Jesuit and Texas A&M University. Over the past 25 years, Darren has visited 35 countries and led 100 strategy programs. He and his wife have five children.


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