When I talk about a missional business, I’m not talking about a Christian business, non-profit or missionary work. I’m talking about a business that wants to go from good to great. A business that wants to grow from success to significance. Businesses that impact their employees, their customers and their community for the good usually have these essential elements nailed down.
We’re going to dive into the overview of these items and then in the coming weeks expound on how you can craft your own mission, vision, values, and goals for the future. Before we go further, it’s important to note that a business doesn’t need any of this defined to succeed. Entrepreneurs love chaos and a business can be sustainable to a certain degree without nailing these. In fact, this is an evolutionary process.
I don’t think any business gets these right the first time through. Even though it’s not a requirement to be successful, go through this process is a requirement to be significant. Without this process, your efforts will lack the focus to achieve the kind of impact that leaves a legacy.
A business doesn’t need a mission statement to grow, it needs one to scale.
Creating A Purposeful Mission Statement
A mission statement is why you exist. Your business solves a problem, but that’s not your mission. Your mission is the underlying reason WHY you solve that problem. One of the tricks to pulling out your mission is to create an “I believe” statement.
For example, I believe that businesses can change the world. I believe healthy people and healthy organizations need to be intentionally growing at all times. I believe that everyone is a leader. I believe that healthy leaders impact everyone around them.
Those statements don’t create a mission statement but it helps me get closer to an idea.
For me, my mission statement draft would be something like, “helping leaders lead missional organizations.” However, that’s a pretty easy example when it’s just one person. When you’re sitting with your team and going over this, try to ask why at least 3 times.
Example: ABC Real Estate Company
Why do we exist? To Sell Houses
Why? Because home buyers and home sellers need a guide to avoid losing money (and their mind).
Why? Because moving shouldn’t be so stressful and people deserve to be protected.
Mission Statement Draft: Guiding & Protecting Families’ Best Interest.
Mission Statement Refined: We Are Family Fiduciaries
Let’s test it out.
Key Questions For Testing Mission Statements:
Does this mission statement tell us what ABC Real Estate company does?
Fiduciary means they look out for the client’s best interest. Families identify and personalize people.
If the real estate industry dies tomorrow, can ABC Real Estate still exist?
Absolutely, this company could move to finance or even plumbing with this mission statement.
Does this mission statement offer clarity of purpose and open doors for community impact?
Yes, ABC Real Estate Company could participate in community efforts in the government or help the homeless. It’s clarifying and at the same time open. In this case, the company is clear about helping families, so corporate clients or investors are not their ideal clients.
Is this mission statement portable?
A good mission statement is only good if it can be remembered.
Crafting A Clear Vision Statement
If your mission statement is why you exist, the vision statement is the what. Sometimes a mission statement is internal and the vision statement is the one that is client-facing. In addition, many businesses combine mission and vision together to describe what they do.
Your mission statement shouldn’t shift too much over the years, but many of the other aspects of this plan might.
Examples Of Mission & Vision Alignment
Mission Statement: To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Vision: To create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles.
Mission: To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.
Vision: People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.
These work because the mission is something that is more about who they are and not about what they do. Their vision handles the “what” part of the equation. I reviewed many companies, companies I admire, mission and vision statements and most of them lack the clarity of these two steps.
Clarity Defining Vision
In our previous example, we had ABC Real Estate company craft a mission statement around being a “Family Fiduciary.” This company could take this in many different directions now. Obviously, they are a real estate company, so they can start with that. However, the vision statement helps the company define how it’s going to be a fiduciary. Does fiduciary mean that ABC Real Estate will focus on lower fees and greater transparency or does it mean higher service? There isn’t a right answer except for the one that resonates with the team.
To craft the vision statement you have to move from the now and always, to the future.
Example: ABC Real Estate
Vision: To Be Known As A Ferocious Advocate For Real Estate Clients.
In this example, ABC Real Estate decided to take fiduciary to an extreme. They compared themselves to attorneys. The combination of service provided by Ritz Carlton and the tenacious protection of a fierce attorney straight out of a John Grisham novel. The correct vision can ignite employee engagement,
Define Your Values
Unlike a mission statement that defines why you exist, and a vision statement that explains what you will do, your values are how you behave. Values are important and we’ll cover this in-depth in another post. Values are like lenses that help you see where you should go. For example, the value of humility, informs business owners on how to hire, who to work with as customers and how to handle difficult situations. Try to push past the standard set of values like honesty and customer service. It’s not that these are bad values but rather they are so generic and cliche’ that they lose their meaning.
Redfin, the real estate company has some great values as an example:
- Fire in the belly to change the game
- Wow – Delight the customer
- Rally – Everyone is a leader
- Genuine – Everyone sweeps the floor
- Honorable – Do the right thing
Redfin further defines these on their company website. Reading this I’d imagine they hire passionate people that see themselves as leaders and want to impact the real estate arena for the better. I’d assume that accountability is high on their list (although it’s not listed) as well as humility (Genuine).
Clear values that are discussed and truly believed and not just put up on the wall, help foster trust in an organization. They give employees an idea of how to treat others and how they will be treated.
One Thematic Goal
Every entrepreneur I know loves goal setting. However, if you’re doing an off-site and setting your mission, vision, and values it helps to create what Patrick Lencioni calls a “thematic goal.” This is typically a goal that should be achievable or measurable over the course of a year. This is a goal that answers the question, “What’s the one goal this company can achieve that makes everything else possible?” It could be doubling revenue, doubling staff or something around implementing systems. It needs to be big enough to motivate and specific enough to guide.
5 Clear Objectives
Objectives are those goals that support the thematic goal. They could be causational, they could be supportive and ancillary. These goals help you achieve the thematic goal in parts. They need to be S.M.A.R.T. Goals with a clear finish line. Sometimes it’s helpful to think of the 1 big goal that is accomplished with these 5 steps.
Doing all of this is quite an undertaking and getting it right could take years. However, it’s extremely necessary because it provides a guiding light for the company’s growth. Without this, a company flounders and left to grow simply on the dynamicness of its team. Non-owner high achievers in your organization thrive with clarity and despise cloudy objectives. If you have a clear mission, vision and values, then goal setting becomes infinitely easier. The challenge is that most businesses start with objectives or goals and work backwards. Do the work upfront it’ll pay off for years to come.