Mission statements are dying. But it’s not why you think…
They’re not dying because they’re ineffective. They’re dying because companies are absolutely, positively, 100% awful at creating and executing them. Watch this video to see what I mean.
Most companies have no idea how to craft a mission statement that inspires their team to come to work every day. It’s a shame, really. So much time, money, and potential is being wasted because of this catastrophe.
There might be a way out, though…
And it’s not by creating another mission statement. Please, just leave the mission statement topic alone for a while. Your people will appreciate it.
The way out is with something new. Something almost no one is doing…
Employee Vision Statements
It’s a statement that answers one simple question: Who do you want your employees to become?
believe the future belongs to the companies that accept responsibility for helping people experience a personal transformation in their lives.
It belongs to companies who create the employees they seek rather than wait for them to fall in their lap.
HVAC companies will be responsible for creating the technicians they want in their company.
Tech companies will be responsible for creating the developers and salespeople they want on their team.
Everyone wants amazing people to work for them, and everyone wants the perfect customer to do business with them. Almost no one wants to accept responsibility for helping employees and customers become the people they want to work with.
The whole purpose of business is to facilitate transformation. It’s to help people move from a less desirable BEFORE state to a more desirable AFTER state.
Remember “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”?
The excitement of the show was to see them transform a dumpy old house into a gorgeous home for a worthy family.
We were brought to tears by the transformation of the actual home and, more importantly, the people who would live there.
We forget this though… we get so caught up in the day-to-day work and need to make money that we lose sight of the change we seek to make in the world – specifically in the lives of the individuals we serve.
And nowhere is this need for transformation more present than in the lives of the people who work in our companies.
More Than Goal Setting
This is about more than just setting an ambitious and achievable goal for your team and training them to achieve it… this is about creating individuals with habits, insights, and abilities that consistently and predictably perform beyond expected norms – regardless of what the company’s current goal is.
You might say: our goal as a company is to get to $10,000,000 in revenue.
But what happens when you hit that goal? You’ll set a new one?
Don’t you think that will get old? Setting and hitting goals over and over without a clear picture of WHY we’re here setting goals in the first place?
The human beings you serve and who you hope will work for you aspire to more than that. They don’t wake up in the morning inspired to help you reach $10,000,000.
The purpose of their life is NOT to make you rich or hit your goals. It’s to become a person who goes to bed every day feeling like their life has meaning. If you can give them that, they’ll help you get to $10 million gladly.
The problem is, most business owners/manager/leaders either A) don’t care to help their people experience a transformation or B) simply don’t know how – and when they don’t know how, they resort to the things they do know how to do and the things they can easily measure, like money.
As I mentioned before though, the future belongs to the ones who will accept the responsibility to help their people become a new version of themselves. Because here’s the thing…
Hitting the goal is great, but that’s not the best part… the best part is the journey we went on to achieve it, and the people we become as a result.
If your goal is for all your customer service representatives to average a 90% customer satisfaction rating, hitting that goal will be wonderful. But the goal of “90%” shouldn’t be the main thing we aspire to. The main thing we aspire to should be to create customer service representatives who are capable of earning a 90% satisfaction rating every day. That’s where the real satisfaction comes from… it’s the satisfaction of hearing your people say “I’ve changed. I’m different now. I can do things I couldn’t do before and I’m able to do them consistently… over and over again. I’m a NEW person.”
The World is Changing
You may be wondering, “what’s the point of the education system if I have to be the one to train and transform my people? I can’t afford to take this all on…”
It’s a good question, and the answer lies in the fact that the world has changed.
Once upon a time, college was the golden ticket. If you got a degree, you were set.
But the world has changed. The reputation of the traditional education system and its ability to help graduates get high paying, fulfilling jobs is under attack.
Student debt is at an all time high and isn’t going anywhere.
Everyone is frustrated:
Students who can’t afford degrees ranging from $40,000 to $250,000; parents who can’t afford to send their young ones off to a famous college; the government who is under increasing pressure to pay for college for everyone; business owners who want skilled employees to join their workforce but worry about making the investment in training them themselves.
In the coming years we will see a change happen.
The burden of education will fall more and more on companies. We will be the ones responsible for educating, training, and inspiring our employees.
And the companies who embrace this change will win.
Those who choose to wait for the right person to come around, or continue to resist investing in employee education will find higher turnover rates, less job applicants, and lower performing people in their future.
It’s time for business owners to create inspired, insightful, and skilled employees.
Some Will Win and Some Will Lose
This doesn’t mean you have to add “trainer” to your list of job responsibilities. This simply means you need to provide the means to helping your employees learn and transform.
Author and modern day philosopher (in my opinion) Seth Godin’s team compiled a list of companies “that are doing the intelligent thing: reimbursing employees for educational expenses.”
It’s an impressive list of 104 forward-looking companies – the winners in this new world. Companies who enable their people to seek training and transformation outside the organization so they can perform better in the organization.
But it’s not near enough.
There should be millions of companies competing not for market share, but for young people to come join their ranks. Young people who may not have very much experience or skill, but have something even more valuable: PASSION.
Optimist and author Simon Sinek writes: “Passion is a valuable currency… Steve Jobs was 21 when he founded Apple. Mark Zuckerberg was 20 when he started Facebook. Michael Dell was 20 when his company built its first computer, Bill Gates was 20 when Microsoft became Microsoft. Larry Page and Sergey Brin were 25 when they founded Google and Richard Branson was only 22 when he opened Virgin Records. Everyone on this list was low on experience and even lower on cash when they started. All they had was an intense passion to pursue their visions and an ability to inspire others to join them in their pursuit.”
Cost-cutting executives will almost surely laugh at the idea of “inspiration” and “passion”, but they can’t ignore its impact.
“An engaged employee is 44% more productive than a satisfied worker, but an employee who feels inspired at work is nearly 125% more productive than a satisfied one” says Michael Mankins, a Bain & Company partner.
When employees are uninspired, feel underwhelming in terms of their abilities, and lack a sense of contribution they either leave for a better company, go out on their own, or stick around despite their misery because they need a check – and we all know how well the latter contributes to a company’s success.
Why You Should Care About This Perspective
Essentially, what I’m trying to get you to buy into here is the idea that the purpose of your business is NOT merely to make money. It’s not even to do the thing you do (A/C Repair/Plumbing/E-Commerce/Marketing). No.
The purpose of your business is to help individuals experience a transformation in their lives.
It started off as a mission to help your customers experience a transformation. Then, you hired help.
You may not have realized it at the time but when you hired help, you took on the responsibility to lead those people toward a better future for themselves, not just for your company and customers.
And here’s why you should care about this: when you help your employees experience transformation, they BECOME more valuable to you. They serve your customers better.
When you help your customers experience a transformation, they also BECOME more valuable to you. Because customers don’t just do business with companies that make them happy, they do business with companies that make them successful.
To be continued...