Managers on a Mission

Recently I read a book about negotiation which put forward some interesting ideas about aligning different missions across teams and what a positive impact this can have in business.

Since reading this book, we had a big discussion in our office and we decided to refocus our teams on our mission and in particular:

  • How we make a decision
  • When we look to make a decision
  • When we are uncertain of how to respond to a request

We should look back to our mission statement to find the answer.

Companies should be guided by their mission. Your mission is your ‘North Star’.

All great companies have a mission statement and at a strategic level can point back to this, but…

...did you know that all teams should have one as well? Well they should!

The mission statement drills down to the core function and purpose that each team serves within an organisation and can really help clarify difficult or confusing matters.

Some could argue that everyone in the company should have the same mission statement and that by definition everyone is working towards the same goals. However different teams contribute to that mission in different ways

it is very difficult for Jenny in Operations and Jim in finance to truly internalise that overall mission as so much of the contribution to it comes from areas and functions that they are not involved in and potentially do not fully understand.

So for people to truly internalise, understand and commit to a mission it must be personal to them or at least specific to their team.

Do not think of these statements as different missions but rather sub-mission statements….

Hopefully you can now imagine the benefit of doing this so here are our top 3 tips for writing a good and valid mission statement.

  1. Set it in their world - mission statements should be bought into by both the people writing them AND the people that we serve. We all have markets/customers/internal stakeholders that our functions serve, they are a huge part if not all of our mission and purpose, and the statements should reflect this.

  2. Personalise - this may seem contradictory to the above tip, but what I mean here is make sure that it is about your team/division/company and could not just be applied to any other team/division/company, it should be specific to you and what you stand for.

  3. Use exciting language - boring language and boring statements are not something that people enjoy reading or hearing. If your reading and hearing your mission statement is a chore, it will be incredibly difficult for people to buy into it

There are lots of other really valid tips and formats for constructing mission statements that can be found online, but we have found that these 3 to have the biggest impact when we did this ourselves.

If mission and purpose is something that you would like to actively address in your organisation then this is covered in our Addressing and Influencing Organisational Culture Workshop