Every company should have a mission statement. Why? Because it helps to focus everyone’s attention, mainly internally, on what the company stands for and what its main value proposition is. (Read more on missions here: Are You Clear on Your Mission?)There is a problem however when it’s not well known or even unknown within a company. Unfortunately, many executives treat elements of strategy, and especially critical ones like the mission statement, like a state secret.
A few days ago I was with a client who has waited before giving everyone in his company the new vision and mission. He owns a medium sized business and we were discussing ideas to boost sales with the director of sales of one of his divisions. To one of the ideas we were discussing the director of sales said, “but that is outside our current mission.” The thing though is that it isn’t outside the company’s NEW mission, which was decided upon about a year ago! The owner hasn’t taken the time to brief his employees and managers on the full strategy, including mission, vision, major thrusts, goals, positioning, etc. If he had done so, who knows how many ideas they could have come up with to implement the strategy during the intervening period?
I told my client that he has to get his people on board with the new strategy, especially the vision, mission, and major thrusts. This is so he can leverage the talents and energy of EVERYONE in the company, not just a few close collaborators. This is why Leadership Principle #10 that I wrote about a few weeks ago is so important. Otherwise, he will continue to struggle in implementing the company’s strategy.
Don’t treat your mission statement like a state secret. Draw the shades and let in the light. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results when you let everyone in your organization in on the mission and other critical components of your strategy.
© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.