I still remember the moment when the impact of the mission statement hit home. I was sitting in the audience at a business seminar. The speaker asked us to shut our eyes and point in the direction we thought was true north. After a few moments, he asked us to open our eyes.
Fingers were pointing in every conceivable direction. Some of the participants were pointing to the front of the room, others to the back, and there were even a few who were pointing to the ceiling. There was no consistency whatsoever across the group.
This simple exercise showed me that when a group of people lack clarity, its members can interpret reality in many different ways. Of course, if the speaker had indicated 'true north' before we closed our eyes, then our fingers would have all been aligned.
YOUR COMPANY NEEDS ITS TRUE NORTH
Similarly, a mission statement provides your organization with its 'true north'. It aligns your people in the same direction and reminds them, in the simplest terms, of what you’re trying to do and where you’re trying to go.
Knowing and making others aware of your company’s true north is particularly critical in this age of the information avalanche. The ceaseless barrage of noise on almost every conceivable topic can paralyze people’s productivity daily.
A strong mission allows you to quickly judge if your actions are aligned with your company’s direction, neutral to it, or working against it. The mission prompts us to be effective rather than just busy.
Simply stated, you can’t build a great company without a mission.
YOUR TEAM IS AS GOOD AS YOUR TRUE NORTH
Here at We Connect Talent, we have helped a number of companies make talented hires without ever mentioning a mission.
Evidently, there are very good companies that function without a clearly defined mission. However, my point is that in terms of making effective hires consistently - your odds of attracting, recruiting, and retaining a great employee are enhanced if your company has taken the time to think out a meaningful and purposeful statement.
Having a clearly defined mission is a critical step in the process.
Great companies have a purpose that puts their people’s energy into focus and allows them to accomplish something bigger and more substantial than just getting a paycheck.
Therefore, a great mission statement should express an organization’s central ideology in three core areas, i.e. values, purpose, and goals.
Our next post will further elaborate these three categories that you need to build a solid foundation in finding your true north.