How-To and Help / The Big Picture (Strategy)

Designing a Future with Big Picture ResultMaps

ResultMaps’ Big Picture is a way to design future results, then inspire and manage their realization.

What: The different things going on for an individual, a team, or an organization creates a "big picture" of where you're going and what's happening.  ResultMaps provide visibility into that big picture and allows you to adjust it to the right level of detail for your situation.

Tip: If all you want at the moment is some help getting control of a few projects, it is possible to skip this section and come back to it later.  Check out "Quick and simple ResultMaps.
Tip: Keep forward momentum - dive in and be imperfect.  You can improve things at any time.

Why:  When you need to think "strategically," "think ahead," or work toward "big goals", a clear and "shareable" mental model makes everything easier. That model has to organize high volumes of information in a meaningful context; it has to discourage focusing on low-value detail at the expense of the overall plan, and still provide a way to dig into the details.  Such a model helps individuals and team effectively plan, manage and communicate. Regardless of what you call it, your big picture is a concept central to any form of personal development, strategic planning, or business planning. 

Where: In ResultMaps, we represent the big picture using a target icon.  When you click that icon, you'll see everything you are working on from a few "big picture" perspectives.  You'll also see big picture context reflected throughout your ResultMaps. 

Next:  Start with your vision, then the following sections.  

The Big Picture Canvas

For years we've seen the use of a spreadsheet (or tables) to illustrate how small efforts roll up into the bigger picture.  It happens across domains (sales, operations, tech, marketing) and in recent years, a specific view called "a canvas" have been popularized.

The "Big Picture Canvas" in ResultMaps offers a single view that shows what's going on and how things are going from the perspective of your vision, mission, values and focus areas.  

If you are doing strategic planning, or setting up a team, it's a great place to build a shared vision and increase focus.


How-To and Help / The Big Picture (Strategy)

Vision: The View from 50,000 Feet

The vision helped us define what we wanted to do
— Marc Benioff,
Vision is simply a combination of three basic elements: (1) an organization’s fundamental reason for existence beyond just making money (often called its mission or purpose), (2) its timeless unchanging core values, and (3) huge and audacious—but ultimately achievable—aspirations for its own future
— Jim Collins

What:  A vision for you, the individual, your team, or your organization, outlines the future in which you want to live (as it relates to your organization and the people it serves). It is a mental model that describes a scene, complete with a setting and contains enough information to inspire creativity and inform decisions. A vision gives you the "view from 50,000 feet" where the full terrain is visible;  it frames the "big picture."

Why:  More and more research shows how our mental images and internal narratives (our "vision") shape our actions; and how such vision can inspire and guide teams.  A clearly stated vision helps people spot opportunities for improvement and innovation and can attract top talent and customers. 

The evidence also says self-motivation is more important than any one tool - our vision can drive us to overcome considerable challenges.  

The predictable creation of the future (the goal of planning and management) hinges on whether we, as people, remain aware of the vision our mighty brains work to fulfill; and remain intentional about where we focus our energies. 

Where: In ResultMaps, you can reference your personal vision, your team vision, and create vision boards with imagery when it's helpful.  You can see it in the Big Picture Canvas views, and from any team detail pages.

Next: Get more specific about focus and results with a mission.

Methodologies and frameworks that use vision statements

These methodologies and frameworks include (or reference) mission statements at the personal or organizational level.

  • Anthony Robbins time management, personal development and business development methods offer some of the most fun and energizing vision building exercises.

  • The Entrepreneurial Operating System outlines vision as a must-have component of a healthy business.

  • FranklinCovey planning methodologies walk people through imagining their eulogies, and use the idea to "begin with the end in mind".

  • Strategic Planning for Dummies takes you all the way through high-end change management firms.

  • Mark Benioff's V2MOM (Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles and Measures) takes you through an exercise of visualized awareness to reach alignment.

  • David Allen's Getting Things Done includes this level of detail as one of the Horizons of Focus.

  • Most enterprise change management and performance management methodologies involve at the very least some form of statement about "future state".

Organizations that use vision statements

We've collect company vision statements from dozens of companies.  Some came from  blog posts, interviews, key note addresses, or from explicit statements of company vision on their on their Web sites.  Companies like Lego, Amazon, Tesla, SpaceX, SalesForce are present, among many others.  View our collection of company vision statement examples here.

A world where technology helps people design a beautiful future, and inspires and aides in the creation of that reality.

ResultMaps vision


How-To and Help / The Big Picture (Strategy)

Mission: create an aligning narrative

The best companies are almost always mission- driven
— Sam Altman, CEO, Y-Combinator

What:  A mission defines an individual, team or company's ultimate goal, and/or reason for being.  "We are on a mission to...(change the world in a specific way)."   It is the aligning narrative - the story that unites everyone in the company.

Don’t confuse a vision statement with your mission statement. Mission statements describe how your company will execute its vision. It’s the tactics that make the vision a reality. While vision statements are broad, mission statements should be narrow and specific.

Start with a broad vision and then think about crafting your specific mission.
— Patrick Hull, Forbes Contributor
TIP:  Like most of the things in ResultMaps, you can set up a hashtag for your mission elements so that anything with that hashtag will be automatically aligned.

Why:  While vision will outline the big picture in broad strokes (like a scene in a movie or book), mission focuses on the next level of detail by adding specifics. A clear mission informs decisions, allowing strategies and tactics to vary (as needed) while maintaining focus; it helps convey your purpose to your team, prospective team members and customers. It inspires creativity and innovation whether as a team mission or personal mission statement.

Where: ResultMaps, expose your personal mission (privately, to you only) and your teams' mission.  Use any of the views shown in the big picture menu, which includes the "big picture canvas" and "mission map" details screen.  Missions for specific teams can be seen on team pages. 

Things to know:  If you read 10 different authors and you'll get 10 different explanations of what goes into a good mission statement. It's hard to conclude there is any one "right way" to construct a mission. The best mission inspires and guides you and your teams.  Use companies you admire as a guide, or mission statements that inspire you as a basis for your own.

Next: Document your values (for teams and organizations) or the roles (if you are doing personal planning) that will realize your mission.  Note: roles will be discussed in a forthcoming blog post.  Email us if you'd like guidance before it's published.

Mission statements are nearly ubiquitous across planning and management methodologies, though some nuances exist.  

Most strategic planning frameworks recommend having a mission statement.  Some, such as versions of OKR (objectives and key results) start closer to the tactical level.

Jim Collins conceptualizes a mission as a "big hairy audacious goal" while Balanced Score Card defines it as "the reason why an organization exists."

The Entrepreneurial Operating System equates mission and purpose.

Franklin Covey's planners and methodologies use mission statements, as does Anthony Robbins and many other leading authors.

Mission statements are a component of vision as documented in Jim Collin's Good to Great research.

Methodologies and frameworks that use mission statements



Organizations that rely on mission statements

You can find example company mission statements from organizations like Lego, Khan Academy, Nike, Sony, Facebook, AirBnB, Patagonia and more in the mission statement examples section of our performance resource library.

ResultMaps' mission

  • Deliver great products that inspire and empower people, teams and organizations to be their best.
“...of these, the most important to great, enduring organizations are its core values.”
— Jim Collins

What:  Values or "core values" describe what's important about your vision, and define the behaviors  individuals and teams will use to realize your mission.  They include how people interact with each other, with customers.

Focusing on your company culture and values allows you to build a great company. It allows you to stop operating by policy and start operating by principle.
— Leo Widrich - Buffer

TIP: Like most of the things in ResultMaps, you can set up a hashtag for your values; anything with that hashtag will automatically reflect that alignment and be factored in to the big picture.

Why:  Jim Collins describes it well:

 "Values define core ideology and culture".  They guide innovation and inform a multitude of decisions about how interactions happen, where innovation occurs, and which strategies people choose.  Values also help communicate your culture to clients and the team.

Next:  Define your focus areas.

Frameworks and methodologies that use core values

Most strategic planning methodologies, as well as most personal development methodologies, include some definition of core values.  Jim Collins famously highlighted the importance of core values to an organization's success in his research cataloging the habits of great companies.

Organizations that state their core values

We've cataloged core values from companies like Slack, Facebook, 3M, Johnson & Johnson,  Starbucks, GrowthX / GrowthX Academy, Ferrari, Zappos, General Electric and others.  Check these core values examples in our performance resource library.

Outside the box: Google has an interesting variation on core values with their "10 things" philosophy

Recommended reading on defining your core values

Where focus goes, energy flows.
— Anthony Robbins
TIP: Like most of the things in ResultMaps, you can set up a hashtag for your focus areas so that anything with that hashtag will be automatically aligned to the focus area.

What:  "Focus Areas" are the chunks into which efforts are categorized - typically your top high-level priorities.  

For some organizations, they are major functional areas or open-ended descriptions of the goals of those functional areas.  Examples might be "Revenue Growth", "Operational Excellence", "Marketing", etc. Some planning methods call them "Strategic Focus Areas" or "Strategic Priorities."  Others call them "Operational Areas".  We found "Focus Areas" most usable and...focusing. 

TIP: Try on a few of these focus areas if you are stumped. 
TIP: Use focus areas for individual, personal and professional ResultMaps as well.  

Why:  Focus Areas are used to help create and monitor objectives.  Chunking things into "buckets" represented by the focus areas is useful  for organizing, planning, and understanding what's happening as you execute.  

Next:  Set specific objectives in each focus area to focus efforts and measure progress.   

Methodologies and frameworks that use focus areas

Most methodology uses focus areas by one name or another.  Some of the more complex strategic planning methodologies call them organizational goals or objectives, others call them centers of excellence.  For the enterprise, focus areas can correspond to functional areas or departments.  For smaller teams, using something like the Lean Canvas can correspond to categories of effort that support the canvas model.

In larger enterprises, focus areas can also be used for things that have longer time horizons and shorter term component objectives, such as "3 year objectives".

Balanced Scorecard and other frameworks use categorizations that serve the same purpose: categories of improvement.

Samples of organizations that use focus areas

While this level of detail is typically not made publicly available, the idea is fairly ubiquitous.  It can be as simple as distinguishing "sales" from "support", or "support" from "fulfillment", or "operations".  Nonprofits tend to publish them more in their strategic plans, thus here are a few links.

Recommended reading

  • The John Hopkins link above shows nice examples
  • Our tips (blog post coming soon)
In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.
— Robert Heinlein

What: ResultMaps uses the synonyms "objectives" and "goals"  interchangeably.  Objectives and goals focus energies on a specific result.     Objectives are given measurement by listing the Key Results that make them up.

TIP: like most of the things in ResultMaps, you can set up a hashtag for your objectives elements so that anything with that hashtag will be automatically aligned to the objective
TIP: ResultMaps allows goals to stand alone, without a focus area if desired.  They can belong to an individual or a team. 

Why:   Objectives provide focal points for day-to-day effort, from projects to action plans.  They create a consistent focus that can drive activity forward and "keep score" in the game of achievement.  Objectives create a roadmap for efforts in each area of focus.

Where: Set goals/objectives in ResultMaps from any big picture page, or from the goals page.  You can also convert action items to goals when the situation calls for it.  

Next: Make your goals measurable with one or more key results.

Methodologies and frameworks that use objectives

Most methodologies use objectives.  They come in several "flavors" depending on the scope and time frame of the objective itself.

  • Objectives and Key Results (OKR)
  • Management by objectives (MBO),/ management by results (MBR), 
  • Anthony Robbins
  • Franklin Covey 
  • Jim Collin's "Good to Great" research
  • V2MOM (Marc Benioff's adaptation of Anthony Robbins' formula)

Samples of organizations that use objectives

How-To and Help / The Big Picture

Projects, Action Plans and To-do lists

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

What:    Projects, action plans, and to-do lists are basic ways to group and manage a set of related efforts that together work toward the same result.  

TIP: like most of the things in ResultMaps, you can set up a hashtag for your projects, plans and lists,  elements so that anything with that hashtag will be automatically aligned.
Tip:  whether it's a project, action plan or to-do list, ResultMaps shows the type as "To-do List."
Tip: don't forget Text Genius - a project plan takes all of 30 seconds to set up.
Tip: If you feel stuck, don't obsess over planning or using the perfect methodology, get started and the level of detail you need can always grow or change.   ResultMaps focuses on communication and clarity, so virtually any methodology will work.

Why: Some results need more focus than one or two action items.  You may need different milestones, phases, or to bring in a team.  You may need to track things like percentage complete, or set expectations for delivery time lines, or do planning around the size of your team.   Chunking activity into a plan, list or project - and even the activity within them - makes it much easier to manage efforts effectively.

Where: In ResultMaps use the Projects and Lists icon to access your action plans, projects and lists.   ResultMaps supports simple lists and robust project plans the same way - all that varies are the ways you use (or ignore) the different tools available.. Essentially, any action can become a list or project simply by adding detailed steps to that item. 

Next:  Creating, schedule and/or assign action items.


Project management methodologies and religions are as numerous as the stars.    The important concept is to manage execution.

ResultMaps supports SCRUM, and supports Agile at a high level.  ResultMaps does not track some of the more detailed Agile concepts such as "burn down" since there are many great tools for that, contact us to inquire about plugins that provide this capability.

A few methodologies and paradigms that have informed ResultMaps

  • Basic Milestone Planning
  • Gantt chart representations of time
  • Daily "Stand Up" reporting styles
  • Software methodologies such as Agile and the Software Design Life Cycle / Waterfall
  • Anthony Robbins Rapid Planning Method
  • Program management

Methodologies and frameworks that use projects, to-do lists and action plans

This is a tougher section to include - virtually every company takes project management and action plans seriously.  Here we highlight a few job descriptions that provide some interesting insights into project management at some of the world's top companies

A sample of companies that focus on project execution

Recommended reading on project management, program management and action plans

Action: the unit of effort

TIP: Capture everything, then prioritize according the results you need.
TIP:  Use TextGenius to enter several items at once during meetings.
TIP:  Take advantage of ResultMaps List Crusher when your list grows too long.

What: A task is a to-do is an action item and any of them can be analyzed - at the end of the day they all exist to get some result or outcome.  

Why:  when you track what you are doing, you can measure, prioritize and make sure everything that needs to get done is done well, in a timely fashion.   

Where:  Start from your day plan when you login, or look at your team "today" to see what everyone is working on.  You can also see what's been assigned to you and what you've assigned from the team menu. 

Next: Just do it.  ResultMaps will email you reminders and updates or post them to Slack.