Need momentum? How exactly a mission statement drives your success
Aug. 29, 2016
The first time I balked at crafting my own mission statement, I was reading Strategic Planning for Dummies. After a few years of thumbing my nose at serious business stuff, I was, you know, starting to get serious about business.
(I’d learned that when you’re not serious about business, your business doesn’t make you enough money to live on, which means you have to move in with your parents, who might be awesome people, but still, awkward.)
Dutifully, I took notes on competitive research and audience targeting. I wrote out the differences between a mission statement and a vision statement. And while I actually did research my competition and stalk my audience, I shied away from the statements.
Why bother, I thought? My mission was to make money and my vision was to make a lot of it. No need to waste another line or two scribbling that done.
Turns out the hours I spent on the rest of that first business plan were wasted. Why? Because everything that I wrote was driven by my mission to make money and my vision to make a whopping big pile of it.
When your mission is money, everything gets a little more desperate:
When your mission is money, your business doesn’t do business.
Why? Because nobody wants to do business with a business that’s just in it for the money.
I mean, face it: We want sales associates at Macy’s to act like they actually care about our size-10 dark-wash jeans. Sure, they’re there for their ten bucks an hour. But we want more than that in the service they deliver.
Not delivering on that expectation of more ourselves gets us into trouble.
Mission gets us out of it.
Aside from paying for the roof that keeps out the rain, why do you do what you do? It’s a simple question, an obvious question, maybe. It’s also the most important question I can ask you.
So, boss, why do you do what you do?
I know, like every kid going on a mission trip, you’ve got a big reason why you’re working so hard. I know there’s a point of view you’re fighting for and set of values you want to uphold. Once you determine what your mission is, you’ll feel illuminated.
You’ll feel motivated to bring this mission to life. You feel amped up and ready to tackle the long to-do list that’s awaiting you.
You’ll feel confident that your business has a certain rightness to it—something that your target audience will want to support.
You’ll feel validated when those supporters follow you on social media, subscribe to your email newsletter, and rave about the content and services and products you deliver.
You’ll feel inspired to do more to bring this mission to the world, to make it bigger than you first dreamed.
You’ll feel a kinship with those bosses whose missions echo yours. You’ll get the itch to collaborate with them, to share their work and commiserate on the difficulty of owning your own businesses.
You’ll feel called by other missions that are somehow relevant to your very first mission, and you might just add it to your M.O.
You’ll feel important when you see the changes you’ve made, no matter how big or small.
You’ll feel powerful when you realize that it was you that created change.
Boss, I’m getting excited just writing those words. There is not a single lie or exaggeration there—it’s all true. These feelings are ones I’ve felt. They’re feelings other bosses have related to me. They’re real, and they are waiting for you to realize them.
To do that, you need to first realize your mission.
I hear you, I thought the exact same thing—but the reality is this: If you’re bored writing mission statements, then you’re bored by your business. And boss? I know that’s not true.
It’s easy to say, “oh, you need a mission statement,” which is exactly what I’ve done here. It’s harder to talk about creating one, and even tougher to craft one that rings true.
That, friends, is what I’m doing in my new email newsletter this month. Happy Mail for Bosses is a weekly-ish newsletter that’s totally free—free to subscribe to, free to read, free of those 5-a-day sales pitches you totally didn’t sign up for. It’s the newsletter I wish I had back when I was reading Business Strategy for Dummies.
This month—the very first one!—Happy Mail for Bosses is tackling mission. I’ll be covering:
Sign up below by Thurs., Sept. 1, and you’ll start out with Issue 1.
If you’re reading this after Sept. 1, don’t cry! Go ahead and sign up.
Come October, you’ll get a super-secret, password-protected link to the mission archive, where you’ll find all the mission-related goodies you missed out on the first time around. I got you, boss! /fistbump
See ya in your inbox!