A fundamental step in establishing a flourishing business is to spell out your “True North” – which way is my business headed?
In this process, there are many general questions that should be asked:
- Why do you exist as a company/team? Who are the key markets and customers you choose to serve?
- What is the unique contribution that you make to your target market that no one else can?
- What are you the best at? What are you not the best at? (knowing your strengths is imperative, however knowing and identifying your weakness can be even more critical)
- Who are you really? What is the nature of your relationship to the marketplace or to those you serve?
Business owners and leaders must steer the development of the mission, but others will not own it unless they have a seat at the table and a voice to contribute early in the development of the mission. There should be widespread review and feedback. Once developed and prior to launching, take time to cautiously review:
- Is your mission statement truly inspiring, challenging or motivating?
- Can you really live by the mission you have in mind for your business?
- Does this mission accurately reflect who we are and who we serve?
Once the mission is launched, another set of diagnostic questions come into play:
- Does everyone know the mission? Do all believe in it, live it by it and model it?
This may seem as though it’s some obscure dream. I will address team development in a future post. Hiring the most tenured professionals that demand the highest salaries often requires storage for the heaviest baggage! Fresh talent, new ideas, eager to learn – clean slate employees can result in the freshest ideas; passionate people who buy in to your mission will often follow where you lead
- Does your mission pertain to everyone in the organization? Are some ignoring it and acting outside of it. (Which opens another whole conversation about why they are not respecting the mission now? Did they have a seat at the table? Did they agree to support at launch? How will you respond?)
- Are you living up to your mission? How do you know?
- What symbols or examples do we have of people actually living our mission?
- Do we need to adjust or amend the mission? It should not be carved in stone but have some litheness for agility.
If this all seems daunting and even a little bit frightening, I can help. I’ve been part of this process before and can guide you step by step.