Every organization needs to answer their why, what and where.
In most cases organizations are started by a founder or founding group that wants to solve a problem, improve circumstances, improve offerings in a product or service category, introduce something totally new and valuable to the marketplace, improve lives, in other words introduce something or change something to make a difference of some kind. It is very rare that organizations are founded strictly to make money. The money that is made is usually the result of effectively structuring, introducing and leading the organization.
The reason behind the founding of an organization can be a critical motivator for people working in the organization and potential users of the product or service. Your number one priority is clarifying your purpose which is really answering your why.
Purpose, answering your why. Clarifying your purpose is very personal and is not something that you should try to copy from someone else. It’s also not about a template of some kind. If you are already in business you may get caught up in the day to day challenges and priorities and lose sight of your purpose, your why. It’s a good idea to step back from time to time and take the same deep dive you took when you founded the organization and re discover your purpose. Some organizations publish their purpose and make it central to their daily operation and some do not. If you are clear about your purpose and proud of it you will benefit from sharing it with all your key stakeholders and referring to it often.
Mission Statement, answering your What. Defining what you do is very important and serves as guidance in decision making for everyone in the organization.
You may be asking yourself why you need to bother with a mission statement? That’s a good question. If you can get clear on your mission it will act as a guide for decision making by you and your team as you grow your business. A good mission statement if taken seriously can keep you from going down some paths that you might otherwise be tempted to go down. It might keep you from going after the wrong customers or offering products or services that won’t serve you well in the long run. Think of your mission statement as a trusted advisor that is always available asking you why you are making the decisions you are making about your business and the direction you are headed.
As stated earlier your mission statement can also be a very strong influence on your workforce. Recent research indicates that the mission, vision, purpose of an organization has a very strong influence on recruiting and retaining Millennials who are rapidly becoming the largest part of the workforce.
Vision statement, answering your where. The vision statement provides a long term more aspirational viewpoint than your mission statement. A vision statement is an organizations road map defining a direction for the organizations long-term growth. Vision statements tend to stay in place for longer periods of time with minimal revisions. Vision statements are intended to provide a guide for choosing future courses of action. Vision statements can range from a few sentences to multiple paragraphs. Vision statements can also define core ideals and help give organizations shape and direction. If a decision is made to have a vision statement it should be made in conjunction with deciding where it will appear and what role it will play. The organization founder or senior leadership team usually play the key role in crafting the vision statement. Whether you have a vision statement or not, the vision you had when you founded the organization is the inspirational drive that gets you up every morning and gives you a sense of purpose.
In today’s environment, purpose has become very important. Although mission and vision statements provide clear information and relate to purpose, there are still some audiences that would prefer the use of the word, purpose. This is a call you will have to make for yourself.
We have discussed Purpose, Mission and Vision and now it’s up to you to decide how you are going to take advantage of the benefits of each or all three to positively influence all stakeholders.