Mission Statement — The Foundation of Your Business

Recorded on 2010-11-06

After learning a lot on the subject, I am convinced that business is changing. But it isn’t just that business is changing, society is changing and as a result, everything including business is changing. Or needs to change to survive. Some of the old tried and true ways of operating are no longer so solid.

Those companies that have recognized this already are hugely successful. They are speaking to employees and customers on levels that resonate with them. It all starts at the top, at the genesis of the business and the people involved in the business. I remember reading that the most important thing in any business is it’s Mission Statement, which communicates the core values that the business operates from.

I’ve seen a lot of Mission Statements that really miss the point, and I don’t think that the Mission Statement is the first step, I think it is the product of the first step. Before you craft a Mission Statement you have to think long and hard about what the company you want to form believes in, which will most likely be very strongly tied to what you believe in. Some of the theories I am really taking note of lately come from Simon Sinek and Dan Pink. In a TED talk that Simon Sinek presented, he said that people don’t work with you or buy from you because you have a better or cheaper product, or a product that fits their specific goals for that product. They do these things because they believe what you believe.

I think that most people believe in something. Whether it is something spiritual and transcendent or something tied to survival, we all believe in something. Some believe in the pursuit of fortune and fame, others in family, others in philanthropy. No matter what it is you believe, it is important that you are surrounded by others who believe these things as well. It may not be a good match to have a capitalistic business hire philanthropic employees as their goals may be too different, for example.

So before you craft your Mission Statement, think about what it is you believe and what belief you want your company’s actions to be measured against. Don’t stop there, though, because a Mission Statement only COMMUNICATES what your core values are. You still have to ACT ACCORDING TO YOUR CORE VALUES. If your personal core values are the foundation of you as a person, then you Mission Statement is the foundation of your business. Always remember that actions speak far louder than words, and employees and customers can both pick up on a company (or person) who says they stand for one thing, but their actions don’t confirm that they do.