Now you are in the habit of sharing your Mission Statement, everywhere and with everyone you need to have it do its job for your company.What do I mean?A Mission Statement, as we have discussed is not just a pretty wall decoration, it has a job to do and it’s an important one. I fear that many company leaders feel that once the initial writing of the Mission Statement is done we can all get back to the work at hand. When this happens, and it happens a lot in my experience, a disconnect is created between the work and what we started out wanting to create when the company was originally founded.
According to Strategic Planning for new and emerging business, “The Mission Statement provides a central focus and unifying drive for the business within its future.” The Mission Statement needs not only be in front of each current and potential customer each and every day, but also in front of each leader and team member of the company. This is not covered by having a copy hanging in every office, hallway, restroom and computer sleep screen, which are great ideas, but by having that Mission Statement be the starting point of every team meeting or discussion about business direction.
Mission Statement, Stay Focused
It can be very easy to get “off track”, if you will, by ideas that sound great in the moment without checking them against what “we do”. One of the first jobs I had out of college was for a consulting firm. This organization provided contract training for state and local governments all across the country. At each, and every, team meeting we would start by reciting the company’s Mission Statement and guiding principles. (I did wonder if I had joined a cult at first) Yet, by having the Mission Statement start each encounter we had with each other concerning the business we all started on the proverbial “same page”. We knew, or were reminded, why we existed, what we did, who we did it for, and how we did it. This made it easier to say “yes to some ideas about business procedures and new business growth as well as saying “no” to other ideas that did not meet our mission.
Does this sound limiting? I suppose it could. Yet, I would argue that for a new or newer business it is very important to keep growing the direction that we initially started out on or we can grow too big too fast and before long no one knows what the company is about any more.
Mergers, acquisitions, adding new products or services because we overheard someone say that we should add them is not necessarily the best reason to do something. As you may have already discovered everyone is going to have opinions about how you can improve your business. It is up to you and your leadership team to decide whether now is the right time. If it is, great. Move. Grow. However, if after checking with your Mission Statement and really asking yourself the hard questions, such as; “Is this why we exist?” “Is this whom we serve?” “Is this what we produce?” “Is this how we operate?” You realize that the answer is “no” then the answer is “no”. You may consider it at a later time, but not now.
Whenever there is a decision to be made about business direction or operation consult your Mission Statement. Let it do its job. Let it help you grow your company with the consistency and integrity that you had in mind when you started the company.
Want to learn more about Mission Statements, check out the book A Guide to Developing Mission, Vision, and Value Statements