FREE DOWNLOAD - Top 4 Email List Building Tools for Nonprofits
How Can I Help You? Blog Are You Burning Out? B-Mail About Us Let's Talk! Login

Missionary Position

 Hey - it's Bern and...this is my second blog post!

(I’m not going to do this every time, I swear. But I’m super impressed with myself right now.)

Confession: I may or may not have selected mission/vision as my first topic just so I could use ‘Missionary Position’ as a post title. You decide. But, either way, here we are: talking about mission and vision because they are so often overlooked in the daily course of business, yet, they constitute the foundation of everything we do.  Used properly, a well-written mission statement can become your best decision-making tool and can help you streamline your operations and priorities. What’s more, unless you’re starting a business or non-profit organization from scratch, you already know your purpose - so doing the work to craft or improve your mission statement doesn’t have to be difficult. And, perhaps best of all, this mighty little tool doesn't have to cost you a dime.

 

Finding Your North Star

Embarking on mission and vision work is an excellent opportunity to bring together your most important stakeholders and to set their sights on the same goals. Establishing a common set point ensures that everyone involved has the same understanding of what the organization should be doing and why. Even if it SEEMS as if everyone understands the purpose, the process, and the plan - a little probing can uncover huge misalignment with even your most invested supporters. And small differences can have a big impact on your operations, funding opportunities, and supporter satisfaction.  An effective mission will have coordinates that everyone can dial into. 

 Creating Community

A great mission inspires people and attracts new clients, donors, and resources to your business or org. If you’re involved in non-profit work, the chances are high that you’re dedicated to something important that improves the world in some way. If your mission does not express the significance and relevance of what you are doing in a way that attracts others to want to become involved in it with you, you are doing yourself a disservice. And, especially if you do complicated work that is difficult to explain, a clear and compelling mission statement can do the heavy lifting and boil it right down into terms others can understand. Position your mission in such a way that it’s impossible for others to think of your brand without also thinking of your mission. 

Blasting Distractions

Teams that agree to remain mission focused will develop the skills necessary to identify and eliminate “noise”. When teams regularly ask themselves “does this directly [insert mission here]?” and the answer is no or not really, they can move on and not become distracted by every idea or issue. In fact, the act of staying laser focused on the mission will eliminate problems on its own. Issues that seemed important become non-issues if they do not further the mission. This type of focus is also helpful in solving “people problems” like self-serving motives, power plays, and micro-management. Consider the amount of time you spend 'working around' dysfunction. I’ll wait. Scary, huh? Staying loyal to your mission is a non-threatening way to redirect disruptive personalities and stop wasting time stroking egos.

Becoming a Decision-Making Ninja

Indecision can be crippling. Worse, poor decision-making skills can damage your organization by causing you to miss important opportunities, diluting your efforts, and squandering your resources. When faced with decisions about expenses, programs, investments, or strategy, relying on Sensei Mission to guide every choice streamlines the process and makes everyone more comfortable being decisive. A sensei is a master in the martial arts and your mission is your master. It helps you decide what to do, and often more importantly, what not to do. 

When presented with a new program, before crunching the numbers or conducting a feasibility study, ask yourself “does this directly correspond to the mission we have pledged to accomplish?” If the answer is yes and the resources are available, move forward with confidence. If not, don’t give it another thought. Get rid of the “nice to do/have” programs and beware of the “no brainer” projects that do not advance your mission (spoiler alert: pet projects and bright ideas that are not tied to your mission will cost you dearly for years to come). Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.        - Chinese proverb

Didn’t You Mention Vision?

Ah, yes: the vision. It could be argued that you can’t have a mission without a vision; that everyone who sets out on a mission to accomplish something does so with an ultimate result in mind. Fair? Fair. But, many times the vision is taken for granted or it “goes without saying”. Or, even more commonly, the ultimate future vision is so enormous, it may not ever be obtained - and, so, is never articulated. This is a mistake. Mission and vision go together like peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, heck - Forrest and Jenny! Together they give the full picture of the reason WHY you’re on the mission you’ve chosen and HOW you plan to get there. In simple terms, the mission and vision statements, taken together, tell what you do, for whom you do it, and why it matters. Eg. We do X, Y, and Z for A & B because we see a future where A & B experience W. The vision is often a perfect-world scenario and the belief that this perfect world can be achieved (or, at least, that some measurable progress toward it can be made) is what fuels your mission and gives meaning to the work. A vision statement should represent the logical progression of a well-executed mission.

What if I’m not in the non-profit world? 

In everyday life, mission can be interchanged with ‘purpose’ when it comes to your #lifegoals and aspirations. And, as in business, your personal mission can be employed the same way when life gets confusing, messy, or crazy. If you measure every decision against what you believe to be your ultimate purpose, it helps make the decision-making process a little simpler. Going back to your core purpose may help you get rid of complicating distractions and unnecessary drama. Going “back to basics” and measuring everything against your goals isn’t always as simple as it seems (because life) but it’s a tangible, actionable tool that can get you through murky times and navigate some of the rough patches on the road of life. 


Need a mission/vision statement makeover (hint: you probably do)? Download my free Mission Control workbook here: FREE WORKBOOK

 Keep Up The Good Work!

B

Close

50% Complete

Join The Journey!

We're going places, you and I! Never miss a beat by joining my mailing list - I promise to only send you useful, inspirational (or funny) information. Pinky swear!