Mission Statements

I've been preparing a little presentation about the firm for use in an upcoming meeting and it has kept me thinking about mission statements, strategic vision and things like that. I could easily point back to my last post - I don't like business jargon that seems to be saying a lot without really saying anything. So with that in mind, have you thought about a meaningful mission statement to guide your personal and professional lives?

One of the best ideas I can think of for crafting a mission statement is to figure out what you are good at: What are your strengths? It is easy to identify weaknesses and attack them systematically over the course of weeks or months, but it makes more sense to me to FOCUS on your strengths. These are the skills, passions and desires that drive you. So what are they? Need a little help? A great book by Tom Rath, entitled StrengthsFinder 2.0 is a great place to start.

Now, take those strengths and use them to come up with a MISSION. No, I didn't forget the last half of the phrase, a MISSION. James C. Collins, in his article In Pursuit of the Big Hairy Audacious Goal states that
A true mission is a clear and compelling goal that focuses people's efforts. It is tangible, specific, crisp, clear and engaging. It reaches out and grabs people in the gut.

I love that imagery and the ideas behind that quote. Any good MISSION has a clear finish - you'll know when you achieved it! Resist the urge to fill out your mission statement with platitudes and vague statements. If your mission statement isn't guiding your behavior, you haven't quite got it right. Go back to your strengths and keep paring it down until you've got to the honest core of you MISSION.