Mission: A Healthy Organization Knows Where it’s Going
Insight: Clearly stated personal and business mission statements are key indicators of a healthy organization.
A healthy organization is one that has a high likelihood of success because it is able to maximize its effectiveness. One way it does this is by establishing a clear mission that enables everyone to see where it’s going. Yet I’ve seen far too many entrepreneurs who don’t have a mission statement – for themselves or for their businesses. Because they don’t know what success looks like, they can’t tell what they must do to get there. As a result, they spend a lot of time needlessly spinning their wheels.
In contrast, prosperous leaders understand that once they and their employees know where the company is going, their chances of getting there increase significantly. They also will be better equipped to recognize opportunities that add to their success.
Prosperous leaders also know that identifying and communicating their personal mission inspires others. They’ve learned that the combination of a personal and a business mission can increase both their own and their organization’s quality of life and success.
So how do you figure out your personal and professional mission statements? Begin by asking questions such as these:
Why are you in your particular business? What is your goal for yourself, you employees, and your customers?
What products or services are you offering?
How will those offerings make customers’ lives easier, better, or more successful?
When people talk about your company, what do you want them to say?
In addition to the content of your mission statements, pay attention to the writing process. In my experience, start-up companies often find the development of a mission statement as beneficial as its content. Here are five suggestions about the process that people often overlook:
Writing a mission statement requires a lot of thought and creativity. Don’t rush it.
Make the mission statement a group project. Getting other people involved – e.g., family members, close friends, employees - will help you come up with ideas and spot flaws you’d otherwise miss. Those who have a stake in the outcome will feel a sense of ownership of the finished product if they play a part in its development.
Use a brainstorming approach. Giving participants the opportunity to think and speak freely and creatively will inspire everyone and result in better outcomes.
Create a clear statement. You inspire action when you use active words that invoke dynamic, visual images and that enable people to paint clear mental images.
Communicate the resulting statements widely, publicly, and frequently. Let everyone know where you’re going, personally and professionally.
To find additional questions for writing your mission statements, and/or more details about the mission writing process, please see chapter 9 of my book, The Prosperous Leader: How Smart People Achieve Success.
If you would like to learn more about how to optimize your organization’s health and prosperity, I invite you to visit my website for additional free resources. There you will find related articles, an organizational health self-assessment, and an organizational health checklist. Or contact me for a 30-minute personal consultation.