Continuing in our series on strategic planning, we come to the next section in our process: the focus on the Company Purpose. Within the Company Purpose, we have the Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Company Values. This week, we’ll explore the Mission Statement.
We believe that the Mission Statement is a powerful tool in a business’ arsenal. It’s not just a pretty phrase for the website, business card, or frosted glass in the reception area. We push for it to be used as an active tool to discriminate amongst competing priorities and maintain focus. Let’s use a practical non-business example to make the point.
Yes, I said duck. Not “lower-your-head-that-ball-is-going-to-hit-your-head” duck – “quack-quack” duck.
My son (a junior at Georgia Tech) recently took to watching Alton Brown during study breaks for some tough classes. He came across an episode where duck was being prepared and couldn’t help himself…his frustrations became our delicious meal.
After the meal, we had a duck carcass and, being focused on being good stewards, we wondered what to do with the leftovers. Our buddy Alton recommended a whole exercise that involved boiling, filtering, draining, skimming, etc. to generate the end result of duck stock (which can then be used as a base for other delicious foods).
If we weren’t clear about what we were seeking to do (get duck stock), a variety of things could have resulted:
We end up with a pot of boiling gunk that ends up going bad because we forget what we were doing;
We stop along the way and get distracted with the bones or the interesting scum floating or…
We waste a lot of time and effort.
Here’s the point: there is value in what is on either side of the filter. You just need to be clear as to what you seek. Likewise, when you are running your business and focused on getting your work out in the marketplace and widely accepted, it is easy to be seduced by other ideas or opportunities along the way. Use your Mission Statement as your filter and push those opportunities through – if they make it through, keep going. If they get stuck because they don’t match your objectives, you may have something that isn’t appropriate to pursue right now.