Many businesses place excessive emphasis on crafting mission and vision statements with cutesy words, memorable phrases, or seemingly intelligent and creative language. However, the problem lies in the fact that the focus is primarily on the words themselves, rather than their underlying meaning. This is precisely why traditional mission and vision statements often fall short of their intended purpose.
We’re going to challenge the conventional wisdom of traditional mission and vision statements and explore why we recommend tossing them out the window. You might be thinking, “Isn’t that crazy?” After all, crafting a mission and vision statement has long been considered one of the foundational steps in writing a business plan. But let me shed some light on why these traditional statements don’t always work.
The Pursuit of Perfection: One of the primary issues we’ve noticed while working with clients is the immense pressure to find the perfect words for these statements. Businesses often get caught up in the quest for cutesy, impressive-sounding words. However, these words may sound great on paper but lack genuine meaning.
Lack of Meaning: The second reason traditional mission and vision statements often fall flat is that the words used might sound impressive but fail to convey a meaningful message. They become hollow statements that don’t resonate with employees, customers, or stakeholders.
Disconnected from the Big Picture: Traditional statements are frequently disconnected from a company’s overarching purpose. They fail to align with the broader goals and aspirations of the business.
So, if we’re discarding traditional mission and vision statements, what’s the alternative?
We encourage you to take a step back and consider the bigger picture of your business. What is your business’s purpose? Why did you start this venture in the first place? This big-picture thinking is where you should focus.
Begin with a brainstorming session, envisioning a world where your business successfully fulfills its purpose. What changes or experiences would people encounter if you waved a magic wand and achieved your purpose? This exercise helps you move away from the notion that you’re directly responsible for these changes and, instead, consider the downstream effects of your purpose.
Next, identify patterns and connections in your brainstormed statements. These common themes become your purpose statement—a concise description of what your business exists to accomplish.
But that’s only half of the equation. You also need a focus statement, which corresponds to what some might call a mission statement. Your focus is the tangible contribution you make to progress from the current state (point A) to your ultimate purpose (point B). It keeps you and your team on track and in your lane.
Furthermore, your focus statement can be flexible, allowing room for adjustments as your business evolves. Remember, these statements are not set in stone and should be regularly reviewed and adapted.
So, how do you apply these purpose and focus statements in your business?
They play a crucial role in:
– Defining company values.
– Crafting your brand story.
– Developing quarterly plans and other strategic initiatives.
– Guiding decision-making by aligning choices with your purpose and focus.
In conclusion, don’t get bogged down in finding the perfect words for your purpose and focus statements. Instead, focus on defining your direction. Think big, beyond your company’s confines, and keep your focus on the broader picture.
To help you with this process, we invite you to download our company persona template, specifically designed to assist you in crafting purpose and focus statements.
You can find it here.
Redefining your mission and vision in terms of purpose and focus can pave the way for a more meaningful and impactful journey for your business.