Method: Business Motivation Model

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Origins and purpose of the Model

The Business Motivation Model was originally conceived by the Object Management Group. (For the original details, see BMM at OMG). The model has value in organising strategic thought and content in a consistent manner, over time, and across various disciplines/capabilities within an organisation.

This resource introduces a simplified version of the model for the layperson and small/medium businesses to use.

Outlining the Structure of the Model

In this simplified version of the model, there are six pieces of key information: Mission, Vision, Strategies, Goals, Tactics and Objectives. The model explains the relationship between these elements.

Mission, Strategies and Tactics are Means (to Ends). Vision, Goals and Objectives are Ends. Visually these are represented as a table with two columns; Means on the left, and Ends on the right.

Six elements of Business motivation model: Mission, Strategies, Tactics; and Vision, Goals and Objectives

The Means – Mission, Strategies and Tactics – are connected in a hierarchy. Mission is the summary of Strategies; Strategies are the decomposition of Mission. Tactics are a decomposition of Strategies.

Similarly, for the Ends – Vision, Goals and Objectives. Vision is the summary of Goals; Goals are the decomposition of Vision. Objectives are a decomposition of Goals.


You may be tempted to apply your own everyday understanding of these six concepts; however, to follow the Business Motivation Model technique is to adopt these particular meanings, and relationships of the concepts. With common adoption, you and your team can have consistency of thought and content.

The following table has more detailed explanation as well as providing a written example of content.

Mission is the means by which the Vision will be made operative.

Composed as a statement with an action, a product/service & market.

e.g. “Provide mobile tailored wealth management services to self-employed people in Australia”

Vision is the desired future state resulting from doing the Mission.

Composed as a concise aspirational statement about a state of being (not an action); the future ‘what’, without the ‘how’.

e.g. “Be the wealth management services provider of choice with best customer service for self-employed people.”

Strategies are the broad courses of action that give substance to the Mission, and produce the results as stated in Goals. Strategies are actions typically are focused on creating the value the organisation seeks for itself and for others.

Composed as general statements of action.

e.g. “Redevelop products and services based on customer feedback.”

Goals give substance to the Vision and states the desired results of Strategies. Goals can be used to specify the nature and scope of the value to be created.

Composed as qualitative general statements.

e.g. “Improved Customer Satisfaction across all products and services within two years.”


Tactics are specific courses of action that give substance to the Strategies, and produce the results as stated in Objectives. Tactics can be actions that affect the Capabilities of the Business: creating, maturing, and scaling them.

Composed as specific statements of action.

e.g. “Call first-time customers personally to learn about their initial experience.”

Objectives give substance to the Goals and state the desired results of Tactics.

Composed as quantitative specific statements of things that can be measured. Can included a time reference.

e.g. “By end of year, 90% of first-time customers get a personal call within 2 business days.”


Disambiguating the concepts

It is common to confuse a statement of Strategy (a Means) as an End (a Goal) simply from the choice of syntax. This happens when a strategy is written as the thing to be achieved (i.e. What) rather than the means by which it will be achieved (e.g. How).

To avoid this problem and compose statements that have better implicit meaning, follow this tip: Write Ends statements in past (or present) tense as a noun phrase – as if the End has been achieved.


“Improve customer satisfaction across all products and services within two years.” [Verb Phrase]


“Improved Customer Satisfaction across all products and services within two years” [Noun Phrase in past tense]


A companion tip: Write a Strategy (Means) statement in present tense as a verb phrase. Test the sense-making of what you wrote by saying ‘We will <Strategy> to achieve <Goal>.

“Redevelop products and services based on customer feedback.” [Verb Phrase in present tense]


We will Redevelop products and services based on customer feedback to achieve Improved Customer Satisfaction across all products and services within two years.


Sample of a Model for a small business

This sample includes the Value to be created/acquired notated as [Value Element] under Goals.

Business Motivation Model for small business with sample content

Multiple Models with connections

The BMM can be created for different levels of organisational activity, and nested for complete organisational coverage.

That which is a Tactic at the Executive Level, could be a Mission for a Team or Department. For that Team or Department, they might then decompose the Mission into local Strategies with Goals at the relevant level.

Multiple-nested BMMs is more relevant for medium-size to large organisations.


Tips for composing your Business Motivation Model

  • For a small or medium-size business, compose a BMM for a maximum of a 1-2 year period.
  • Many people do not have natural abstract or strategic thinking to start with Mission or Vision. Start somewhere that feels more natural to how they think. Often this is Strategies or Goals. Your planning process might be to ideate or brain-storm which is possible or desirable in terms of strategic actions. Once you have settled on a core set of Strategies – compose Goals for these. You might then look at all the Strategies and compose a summary overarching statement that becomes your Mission. Do likewise for Goals and Vision.
  • We recommend that your strategic planning process starts with understanding what Value the Business should create. See our article on this topic. The list of Business Value elements becomes the stimulus for choosing strategies to create such value, and goals that measure the value created or generated. Every Goal should have a direction correlation to one or more elements of value.
  • If you have created a Business Model Canvas to show a To-Be/Future perspective of what your business is to become, then consider this an input to your strategic planning. Ask: What strategic and tactical action is needed to make your business model a reality?
    • Key Activities & Key Resources: Are there new capabilities and functions to create; existing capabilities and functions to grow; existing capabilities and functions to retire or close? Are ther
    • Key Partners: Are there new partners to acquire; existing partners to strengthen; existing partners to retire?
    • Revenue Streams: Are their new products and services to development; existing products and services to improve; existing products and services to retire?
    • … and explore the other areas of the BMC with such questions.
  • Consider the Mission and Vision in the BMM to be ONLY the overarching statement that fits with the time period (i.e. 1-2 years) of your BMM. This Mission and Vision is for an internal audience only. This Mission and Vision is likely to be different and separate from your overarching statement of what the business/organisation exists for – and those statements are generally composed with an external audience in mind with a lot of word-smithing involved. It’s not worth investing a lot of time nor effort in word-smithing the Mission and Vision for your BMM. (NB: If you are maintaining a fuller Business Architecture for your organisation/business – that is a range of views/diagrams/models – then put your external facing Mission and Vision in a separate section to the BMM.)
  • Take regular moments to check the logic and coherence of the contents of the BMM.
    • A reference numbering system can be helpful.
      • Give each Strategy a whole number, e.g. 1.0; 2.0
      • Give each Tactic a part number showing which strategy it relates to, e.g. 2.1; 2.2
      • Match the Goals to the Strategy so they have the same reference number. Strategy 1.0 – Goal 1.0
    • Use these questions as prompters:
      • Does each Strategy have a Goal that is meaningful?
      • Does each Tactic belong to a Strategy?
      • Does each Tactic have an Objective that is measurable?
      • Does the Mission reflect a summary of all Strategies?
      • Does the Vision reflect a summary of all the Goals?
      • Is there Value you seek to create or generate that doesn’t yet have a Strategy/Goal combo?

Creative Commons License

This derivative work by Quello is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. We acknowledge and respect the original work and property of the Object Management Group.