Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept
No matter where you are in business, it’s time to define your WHY. WHY, as in why do you exist? Why do you do what you do? What kind of impact do you want to have?
The foundation of your WHY starts with your core values. Your values should lay the path for any business and any industry you are involved in. These are the compass and guiding principles that will allow you to attract the right team, speak to the right clients, and make the best decisions for your business.
Do you have these values written down or are they floating around in your head somewhere? Does your team know what they are? Are their values aligned? What about your mission statement? Vision? My guess is you shook your head “no” on at least one of those items. You may have even silently said, “what’s the difference?”
We got you.
The REASON your company exists
- Definition: A mission statement defines the purpose and primary objectives related to your customer needs. It speaks to your company’s business, it’s objectives, and it’s approach to reach those objectives; in other words, HOW you will get to where you want to be and WHY are you in existence.
- Famous Example: Patagonia: "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis."
A Source of inspiration and motivation
- Definition: A vision statement clarifies your ideal future state for the business. It communicates your purpose and core values. In other words, WHERE do you want to be?
Here's a Famous Example:
The Coca Cola Company: To achieve our mission, we have developed a set of goals, which we will work with our bottlers to deliver:
PEOPLE: Inspiring each other to be the best we can by providing a great place to work
PORTFOLIO: Offering the world a portfolio of drinks brands that anticipate and satisfy people’s desires and needs
PARTNERS: Nurturing a winning network of partners and building mutual loyalty
PLANET: Being a responsible global citizen that makes a difference by helping to build and support sustainable communities
PROFIT: Maximizing long-term return to shareholders, while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.
PRODUCTIVITY: Being a highly effective, lean and fast-moving organisation.
**Your mission statement should describe what you want to do NOW, while the vision statement outlines what you want to do in the future.
- Definition: “A blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time. Whether written as a mission statement, spoken or merely understood, corporate culture describes and governs the ways a company's owners and employees think, feel and act.” - Entrepreneur.com
Here's a Famous Example:
Like all great companies, we strive to hire the best and we value integrity, excellence, respect, and collaboration. What is special about Netflix, though, is how much we:
Encourage independent decision-making by employees
Share information openly, broadly and deliberately
Are extraordinarily candid with each other
Keep only our highly effective people
Our core philosophy is people over process. More specifically, we have great people working together as a dream team. With this approach, we are a more flexible, fun, stimulating, creative, and successful organization.
Many companies have value statements, but often these written values are vague and ignored. The real values of a firm are shown by who gets rewarded or let go. Below are our real values, the specific behaviors and skills we care about most. The more these sound like you, and describe people you want to work with, the more likely you will thrive at Netflix.
You make wise decisions despite ambiguity
You identify root causes, and get beyond treating symptoms
You think strategically, and can articulate what you are, and are not, trying to do
You are good at using data to inform your intuition
You make decisions based on the long-term, not near-term
You are concise and articulate in speech and writing
You listen well and seek to understand before reacting
You maintain calm poise in stressful situations to draw out the clearest thinking
You adapt your communication style to work well with people from around the world who may not share your native language
You provide candid, timely feedback to colleagues
You learn rapidly and eagerly
You contribute effectively outside of your specialty
You make connections that others miss
You seek to understand our members around the world, and how we entertain them
You seek alternate perspectives
You say what you think, when it’s in the best interest of Netflix, even if it is uncomfortable
You are willing to be critical of the status quo
You make tough decisions without agonizing
You take smart risks and are open to possible failure
You question actions inconsistent with our values
You are able to be vulnerable, in search of truth
You inspire others with your thirst for excellence
You care intensely about our members and Netflix‘s success
You are tenacious and optimistic
You are quietly confident and openly humble
You seek what is best for Netflix, rather than what is best for yourself or your group
You are open-minded in search of the best ideas
You make time to help colleagues
You share information openly and proactively
You create new ideas that prove useful
You re-conceptualize issues to discover solutions to hard problems
You challenge prevailing assumptions and suggest better approaches
You keep us nimble by minimizing complexity and finding time to simplify
You thrive on change
You collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures
You nurture and embrace differing perspectives to make better decisions
You focus on talent and our values, rather than a person’s similarity to yourself
You are curious about how our different backgrounds affect us at work, rather than pretending they don’t affect us
You recognize we all have biases, and work to grow past them
You intervene if someone else is being marginalized
You are known for candor, authenticity, transparency, and being non-political
You only say things about fellow employees that you say to their face
You admit mistakes freely and openly
You treat people with respect independent of their status or disagreement with you
You accomplish amazing amounts of important work
You demonstrate consistently strong performance so colleagues can rely upon you
You make your colleagues better
You focus on results over process
** You can also create a culture code, a handbook to include your mission, values, how to work and live by your values, company traditions, and additionally shared beliefs. Or the famous Netflix Core Values document.
Your company’s compass
-Definition: The guiding tenets of a company, supporting the vision and identity of the company. They are timeless, enduring, and intrinsically important.
Here's a famous example:
Focus on Impact
If we want to have the biggest impact, the best way to do this is to make sure we always focus on solving the most important problems. It sounds simple, but we think most companies do this poorly and waste a lot of time. We expect everyone at Facebook to be good at finding the biggest problems to work on.
Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster. However, as most companies grow, they slow down too much because they're more afraid of making mistakes than they are of losing opportunities by moving too slowly. We have a saying: 'Move fast and break things.' The idea is that if you never break anything, you're probably not moving fast enough.
Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that's changing so quickly, you're guaranteed to fail if you don't take any risks. We have another saying: 'The riskiest thing is to take no risks.' We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.
We believe that a more open world is a better world because people with more information can make better decisions and have a greater impact. That goes for running our company as well. We work hard to make sure everyone at Facebook has access to as much information as possible about every part of the company so they can make the best decisions and have the greatest impact.
Build Social Value
Once again, Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do.
"The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe." - Simon Sinek
Not sure where to start on these? One of the most overlooked and underappreciated aspects of a business are their core values. They’re hard to define and even harder to communicate organization-wide, but the most successful companies are the ones who hire both on skill level and value fit for their organization.