Why mission statements matter
The day-to-day stresses of leading a company can consume most waking hours. As a leader, how do you determine where to place your energy when there are multiple demands competing for your time and attention? And in the midst of making continual decisions, how can you manage the legacy you are leaving?
Writing a mission statement for you and your company can help answer these questions and guide your decision-making as a leader.
Make a lasting impression
Each action you make is a thread in the fabric of your reputation. Your “story” as a leader is written by your directives and decisions taken as a whole. If you are not crystal clear about what you stand for as an individual, you may end up merely managing moments and missing the opportunity to make an impact. That’s where knowing your purpose or mission comes in handy.
Know your purpose
Your purpose is a promise you make to yourself, your company, your family and the world. It identifies what you wish to be known for and serves as a guide for prioritizing all your actions. Having clarity of your individual purpose is liberating.
Consider how the mission statements of these two exceptional leaders clarify their purpose and desired legacies: Richard Branson’s mission is “to have fun in (my) journey through life and learn from (my) mistakes.” Oprah Winfrey’s mission is “to be a teacher. And be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”
Begin your purpose journey with personal reflection. Consider questions such as:
• What gets me up in the morning (other than my alarm clock or kids)?
• What keeps me up at night? What are my “what if” dreams?
• Who am I interested in serving?
• What unique value do I bring to the world?
Then select a trusted and impartial coach who can provide an outside perspective that pushes your exploration further.
Connect to the company purpose
Once clear about your personal purpose, begin probing the purpose of your company. This is about uncovering the true reason of why your organization exists, beyond just growth and profits. Through these efforts, you can capture and articulate what your organization wishes to contribute to the world.
Now connect your personal purpose with your company’s purpose. This makes it obvious where you should apply your energy. At the same time, the legacy you wish to leave behind becomes clear to you and those who know of you.
More on this topic: Values are not enough