Mission statements are crucial to the success of any organization.
This is true of Fortune five hundred corporations, The U.S. Army, Network Marketers, and home-based sellers. Several leadership experts have written about the importance of a Laser focused Mission statement. Peter Drucker’s in The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization cites the number one question is What is our Mission? Susan Ward in an article for the Balance Small Business Magazine notes “the mission statement articulates a company’s purpose. It announces to the world at large why your company exists. Every business should have a mission statement as a way of unifying the organization’ Patrick Lencioni in The Advantage notes six critical questions for a leadership team to be crystal clear on. The first critical question is “Why do we exist?” Stephan Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People states that organizations and even families should have a mission statement.
You might have two observations at this point. Your first observation might be,” Well, of course, every organization has a Mission Statement.” Mission statements or core value statements are observable in most organizations. You walk into an office, storefront or check out a website and the organization”s mission statement pops up.
The second and more crucial observation you might have is “they say they do this but my experience with this organization doesn’t reflect it’s mission statement ” You might note that as a leader or employee of an organization that your own organization’s mission statement is prominently displayed but not considered in day to day operations and decisions. Employees and managers may not even know what the mission statement says or stands for.
These mission statements are dust collectors
Dust collectors are dangerous if not lethal to any organization. The mission statement is a statement of organization character. Consumer studies report that customers do not do business with organizations of poor character and The Gallup polls on employee engagement note employees are not engaged and do not stay at organizations of weak character. This is especially true of the millennial generation. The Gallup study of How Millennials Want to Work and Live and the OC Tanner reports and research on multi-generational workforce note there is a significant trend with millennials who are becoming the largest segment of the consumer base and workforce to work and buy for organizations who serve a higher purpose than making money.
How do we develop a laser-focused mission statement.?
A laser focused mission statement thoughtfully crafted and acted on can be an organization’s ultimate competitive advantage. Patrick Lencioni says it well in The Advantage” If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time”.
Any organization can develop a Laser focus mission statement by committed people asking three questions. These three questions come from Sinek’s concept of the Golden Circle in Start with Why.
Why do we do what we do? What value do we bring to our consumers?
How do we do what we do? What makes our process special
What is our product?
These questions may seem to be in backward order but if we consider consumers and employees want to know what our purpose is before they buy or choose to work with our organization they make sense.
Frankly, don’t you want your work to have a purpose and make a difference?
Consider a few examples below;
Starbucks“To Inspire the Human Spirit -One person, one cup one neighborhood at a time”
Mary Kay “Enriching Women’s Lives”
Virgin Atlantic Airways… to embrace the human spirit and let it fly.”
Facebook’s “ give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”
“The mission of Southwest Airlines is a dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. ”
The crafting of the mission statement is the easy part. The crucial piece is intentional, consistent action and reflection based on the mission statement. The mission statement is most galvanizing when it is the basis of all we do as an organization. Our task as leaders is to communicate, communicate and over communicate the mission and model it in all we do with customers and employees /independent consultants. Be vigilant in following the mission in all parts of the business and be reflective of practices.
The mission statement should be reviewed with candor periodically to guard against any dust!
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