In the first blog of this series, I shared how non-profits and businesses are alike and how businesses can learn from the non-profit world. One key lesson is how non-profit organizations stay true to their mission. Staying on mission helps block out some of the irrelevant noise of a busy world.
So, what does this mean for businesses?
As a starting point, businesses can align their decisions and actions to their ultimate purpose or mission statement. Do you know where to begin in designing a mission? View The Origin of Why to get started. @SimonSinek is a business leader/motivational speaker who understands the importance of articulating a clear purpose for businesses of all types.
An organizational mission helps business leaders stay focused on longer-term goals and prevent getting side-tracked. Mission statements that are concise, specific, and compelling communicate what the business does, who it serves, and how it can make a difference. Most importantly the mission statement communicates the ‘why’ – reflecting the business’s unique values and strengths.
How does a clear mission statement help drive your business forward?
Non-profits understand the value of their mission and leverage it to help achieve their goals. They know a clear mission statement increases trust by:
- Reflecting commitment to a higher social good – people understand the values the organization brings to the world;
- Demonstrating authenticity and transparency – by taking actions that are clearly aligned with the mission;
- Delivering on the promise to key stakeholders – the mission statement acts as a commitment people can rely on;
- Engaging customers and employees – a clear purpose becomes a mechanism to captivate people; and
- Differentiating the organization from others – with a clear purpose the business can demonstrate why it is the best choice over other options.
A mission will also help small and medium-sized businesses make good decisions by:
- Communicating the passion and vision of the organization to employees and customers – a clear mission lets everyone know why the organization does what it does and supports better decision-making;
- Guiding the company’s actions and strategies to achieve its goals – the mission acts as a ‘north star’ for the company’s actions. Simply asking the question ‘will this action bring us closer to the mission?’ is a great starting point;
- Focusing decision-making on the mission and values of the organization – once the relationship to the mission is determined, it is easier to make decisions;
- Producing messaging that attracts and retains customers who share the same purpose – aligning decisions and strategies to the mission makes it easier to develop messages that will resonate with customers; and
- Influencing culture and employee engagement – the mission can guide how the business does its work and will be reflected in the culture and people it attracts and retains.
So why does this matter?
At the end of the day, small and medium size businesses must be concerned about viability and sustainability. A strong mission statement supports these goals and provides a competitive advantage. This bottom-line consideration is paired with strong alignment, experiences of satisfaction and belonging for owners, customers, and employees – something that has become increasingly important for everyone.
Stay tuned for my next blog where I will discuss the practical ‘how to’ of ensuring organizational actions tie to the mission statement.
Dr. Michelle Coombs is a strategic leader, educator and change catalyst. Reach Michelle here.