Can you recite your company’s mission and/or vision? Go ahead. Right now. Say it out loud (ignore the strange stares from the other customers in line for their coconut milk mocha macchiato at Starbucks). Seriously, do it. If you can.
Can you stand behind the mission of the company you work for or the company you founded? Hell, do you even know what it is?
There is all sorts of information out there about casting a big vision, creating an aspirational mission, and internally and externally communicating your values and beliefs. But is it all just rhetoric? How do you get your mission, vision, and values to stick? During the grit, the grind, the dark days of building a business, and the challenges associated with growing pains, how do you create a company mission and vision that your team will rally behind?
Last week I re-read Salim Ismail’s book Exponential Organizations. In his book, he calls this mission/vision statement a Massive Transformative Purpose or MTP. An MTP is more than just a standard mission statement. It is a clearly defined declaration of your company’s intention to positively impact the world. A single sentence that others will understand, remember, aspire to, and follow.
Standard Mission Statement (Aflac): To combine aggressive strategic marketing with quality products and services at competitive prices to provide the best insurance value for consumers.
Massive Transformative Purpose (Google): Organize the World’s information.
Can you hear, see, and feel the difference?
One of my companies recently went through this exercise. My leadership team all had a vague understanding of what we were trying to accomplish and knew the kinds of customers and employees that we wanted to attract. But we didn’t have anything in writing and we weren’t communicating it consistently, concisely, and clearly to our internal team or externally to our customers and prospects. As we worked on crafting a Mission, Vision, and Beliefs that we could all stand behind, I learned a few things about creating a mission.
- Keep it Short and Sweet None of these paragraph-long mission and vision statements, please! Make is short enough so that your team can remember it, recite it, and incorporate it seamlessly into their conversations with current and potential clients.
- Make It Bigger Than You Your mission and vision statement should speak to the impact you are going to have on the world. What legacy are you going to leave for your company and your customers?
- Make Sure It Gives You Chills Is your mission and vision powerful enough to get you and your entire team out of bed in the morning? Can you viscerally feel the impact your words are going to have on your community, your state, the country, the world? Do you get excited just thinking about your mission and the contribution you are going to make? If not, go back to the drawing board and find a mission that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
- Stay True to You and Your Culture Is your company culture more like Olivia Pope’s team of gladiators or Michael Scott’s office full of misfits? Or somewhere in between? Does your company believe in nap pods, jeans, free lunches, three-piece suits, results, birthday parties, volunteering, or eighty hour work weeks? Perhaps it’s some unique combination of the above. Whatever it is, make sure you don’t preach caviar and vodka business dinners, when you’re more of a flatbread and craft beer kind of organization.
- Have Fun Make sure your mission and vision statements not only inspire your team to drive hard and push through challenges, but makes them smile! If you’re not having at least a little fun, then what’s the point!?
Here’s the finished product:
Buying a home is one of the ten most transformative decisions a person will make in their life, which is why our team has made it our mission to be a part of this transformation. We are real estate consultants, not just real estate agents. Whether we are helping a family buy their first home or helping agents build an incredible career as a real estate consultant our team – either way, we are transforming lives through homeownership and helping others leave a legacy! Pretty powerful stuff.
Does your company have a MTP? Share it in the comments! If not, get on it!