Make it your Mission

2. a power driving employees to act; a positive incentive or desire operating on the will and emotion causing action.

Average performers are goal driven; peak performers are mission driven. In order to maximise your key resource within your business; your employees, it is necessary to establish what your company values are and how they are communicated and consequently interpreted.

It is important to understand the difference between a goal and a purpose. Goals are finite. They have an end result. So what is that keep us going once a goal is achieved? Where does the next goal come from? Without a purpose or expressed mission, goal setting becomes a routine, mechanical technique for directing the employee's energy. When a company has a purpose or a stated mission, goal setting becomes a vital link between your company's values and ongoing employee behaviour.

If we take the legendary coach, Vincent Lombardi, he made many correlations between the athletic playing field and the business battlefield. He often said that to be number one in any business sector, you have to be smart; running a football team is no different that running any other type of organisation, an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same; the purpose is to win to beat your competitors. In business you must know the rules and objectives, the object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules  but to win. "Individual commitment to a group effort, that's what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilisation work".

"So as an individual, what is the group effort that I am committing to?"

A common mistake that many companies make is attempting to rally employee support behind a bland, boring mission. Well meaning statements such as, "To be number 1" or "To produce World Class products whilst maintaining shareholder value". These missions do not make an employee jump out of bed each morning with excitement. Uncover deeper, more compelling reasons for your organisation's existence. Winning companies understand that heart power, the engaged passion for excellence of all workers, is their greatest asset; motivate with a mission, as it takes a company with a mission to succeed. Many great companies have summarised their core mission in a short, easy to remember, powerful phrase.  Disney's service mission is, "we create happiness". Managers who believe that work and fun don't mix will never see the mission achieved, as employees will never truly reach their full potential, subsequently the company will not reach its full potential. A focused, lighthearted mission engages the hearts of people and demonstrates a humanness that is so often lacking within companies.

In our confusing, complex work world, companies often overcomplicate things. When hundreds of policies exist, blended with thousands of regulations, the simple truth and focus often gets lost and employees become disgruntled. Smart leaders continually look for ways to move toward more simplicity rather than more complexity. The more we strive to keep things simple, the greater the power driving our employees to act is.

When establishing goals, people goals should be articulated and defined so they complement the other goals of the company.  Morale, productivity, and customer service are all related, and can all be impacted by the way the company does, or does not, recognise the people involved. Like any goal statement, a good recognition goal ought to be simple to understand and should satisfy simple criteria.

Achievable: The most effective goals are those people believe they can achieve if they plan and execute properly.

Specific: Improving morale is a great idea, but it is too general.  Specific definition on action steps will help translate ideas into real progress.

Measurable: To be effective, any goal must be measurable.  If it cannot be evaluated objectively, then the employee will believe that only luck or personality will lead to success.

Goals should be stated in a specific time frames. Quantifiable tracking of activities deserving recognition for safety (reduction of accidents), quality (number of defects), customer satisfaction (number of calls/returns), or any other area which is directly impacted by employee appreciation will strengthen the integrity and commitment of everyone involved.

Progressive leaders today instigate a "dual mission' approach at work to better balance both the work and life goals of their employees. This dual mission approach is a creative, practical approach to gain employee buy in for the corporate mission, while simultaneously helping the employee achieve personal goals in the process.

  1. Motivate with a mission, your employees must feel compelled.
  2. Raise the fun-meter. How could anything be more fun than, to love what you do and feel it matters?
  3. Know the difference between a goal and a mission. Remember, a goal is finite.
  4. Goals should be achievable, specific and measurable.
  5. Promote balance.  It boosts morale to help people balance the work they do with the life they lead.
  6. Walk your talk. Leadership is based on a spiritual quality; the power to inspire, the power to inspire others to follow.
  7. Lead with compassion. Just having the capacity to lead is not enough. The leader must be willing to use it.
  8. Keep things simple. Making the complicated simple, really simple; that's creativity.
  9. Good things happen when planned; start with an end in sight.

Without a sense of purpose or mission as we like to call it, it is difficult to maintain high levels of commitment to goals; and without purpose, goals have little relevance or meaning.

Employees of every company want to know what you stand for and where you're going. It must be understandable, focused, and wholehearted attempt to arouse passions. Proverbs 29.18 says it best "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

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