Mission statements can help you beat your competition
Welcome to our fourth and final installment of our multi-part series exploring the value of mission statements.
In parts 1, 2, and 3 of our series on mission statements, we discussed how mission statements can help you become a better leader, how they can align your team and help you overcome uncertain economic circumstances, and how your mission statement can help you set priorities when you’re faced with what feels like too many great opportunities.
Mission statements are like compasses. When the terrain of business gets rocky and it’s not quite clear what’s over the horizon, your mission statement is a clear reminder of what direction you’ve committed yourself to.
It’s an important reminder that your mission statement is indeed a promise. It’s one that you made to yourself, to your team, and to your customers. Sure, there might be all sorts of interesting business opportunities over here, and some potential to incorporate new products or services over there, but if they’re in opposition of the direction you’ve committed to — if they’re putting you at risk of breaking your promise — then they’re not worth pursuing.
This level of discipline is what will set you apart from your competition. Not every organization has this. In fact, one of the most common reasons that businesses fail is that they lose sight of their initial purpose.
There’s a distinction between adapting and adjusting what you do, given market changes and opportunities, and abandoning your mission. Know the difference, stay committed, and work with your team to hold them accountable to their commitments, and your competition will never be able to stop you.
Your team is watching how you commit to your mission
As a leader, every move that you make is going to be scrutinized. Like it or not, you’re going to be held to a higher standard than the average person. That’s part of the deal you’re making in being a business leader.
And a critical part of that deal is how you conduct yourself in front of your team, especially when it comes to how you’re differentiating your business’s mission vs. that of your competition.
Your team members are looking for you to create clarity around your mission vs. your competition’s, because this reinforces their choice as being a part of your organization. Never forget that they are making the choice to be a part of your business, just as much as you’re making the choice to employ them.
It’s mutually beneficial, but it only remains so if they can deliver the value you require, which very much hinges on you communicating the value of your business. It’s way more than just paying someone for doing a job. Don’t get me wrong, it is that, but there’s also something that lives in an intangible space that keeps you committed to one another, and it’s really staying true to your mission that ties it all together.
Look at it this way, when we’re living through times of uncertainty, when gas prices are going through the roof, and when inflation seems never-ending, people are looking for someone or something to make them feel safe.
If you can stay true to your mission by staying calm, staying the course, and giving people a sense of reassurance that you and your organization are going to weather the storm by adapting, looking for the opportunities that exist within crisis, and doing it all by holding one another to a high standard while doing it, then you’re going to be keeping aligned and focused.
Do you think your competition can confidently say the same thing? Probably not. Seriously. The average business in a state of economic crisis or whatever is just going to look at where they can cut costs, announce layoffs, and, ironically, probably tank the business because they’re killing morale and not showing the right style of leadership. They’re probably not focused on developing themselves as leaders. They’re just in protection mode.
I’m talking about looking at times of crisis and uncertainty as a means of taking control of the moment. How can we gain market share? How can we dominate? Where are the opportunities?
Listen, there are always opportunities. And our mission correlates to that. Our mission at Cardone Ventures isn’t “We help our clients achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals through their businesses in an ideal economic environment.” It’s to help them achieve their goals, period.
So when things out there are uncertain, it’s our job as leaders to make the things in here very certain. It’s your mission that creates that level of certainty. If your current mission statement isn’t big and impactful enough to include these things, then you might need to go back to the drawing board. Your team and clients deserve it.
Your mission statement helps you evaluate your team
Over the years, I believe that I’ve really honed my skills in bringing incredible talent into our organization. Had that not been the case, then there’s no way we would have grown into a $40 million dollar company as quickly as we did.
Still, on occasion, we bring people into Cardone Ventures that just don’t meet the moment in the way I hoped they would.
One way that I evaluate team members that I have concerns about is through our mission statement. Again, mission statements just don’t miss.
It’s a really easy and instructive way of answering the question, “Based on their conduct, their actions, and their work, are they really in it for the mission, or are they just here for themselves?”
I’m not talking about mistakes. We all screw up from time to time. I certainly do, and so do folks like Brandon and Grant. All of us. So when we have a team member that really screws something up, and instead of being solution-oriented and accountable to the situation, they’re really defensive about it, it gives me pause.
Like, why is this your response to the situation? Is it because you just want to be right? Is it because you think this is how leaders are supposed to respond? Are you just jockeying for position?
What’s interesting is how a more mission-oriented person responds to their own mistakes. These are the people who are, like, not only completely accountable to what they’ve done wrong, but they’re also fighting for the team and for the business while they’re cleaning up their mess.
It’s just a night and day contrast. Of course, I’m looking at these people in an entirely different way. Sure, they both made the same mistake, but the response couldn’t have been different. Their intent was different. There was a sense of selflessness and a passion in their screwup.
So, naturally, the way that I step in as a leader is entirely different, too. Let me give you a more specific example.
We once had a young woman on the team who was, it seemed, just entirely focused on her ideas, so much so that she wouldn’t even share her work with others unless she could take credit for it — like, she would work on projects in secret.
And here’s the thing: Sometimes these ideas were legitimately amazing. Seriously. She’d just surprise us out of nowhere, and just nail it. Other times, she’d surprise us with a secretive project, it would be completely off the mark, and we’d just react like, “Why are you wasting all this time, all of these resources with this nonsense?” It was so frustrating.
Before too long, we could see that this was a pattern. Like, this was just a standard way in which this person operated.
I couldn’t help but look at it this way: Instead of telling me earlier and asking for my approval and consent, she just spent all this unneeded time going down a path that she shouldn’t have gone down to begin with, and I know that it’s because she wanted the credit and the attention that could have come with it.
Centering yourself in this way means that you’re not about the mission. You’re just about yourself. I can’t tolerate that. There’s a really simple way to weave together your goals within the business’s goals, so that you’re both growing together, but this just wasn’t it, and they weren’t the sort of person who could adjust their mindset to get in alignment with how we needed to operate, so we parted ways.
And that’s what’s so fascinating to me about mission statements. Constructed in the right way, communicated in the right way, and used in the right way, they can guide virtually every aspect of your business, no matter what your role is, what project you’re working on, or which client you’re serving, your mission is always there to guide the way.
So, how’s your mission statement? Are you really using it to its full potential? If you want to get the right guidance and perspective, then I have a few suggestions for you!
First, get your FREE copy of TeamWork by going here and following the instructions.
Second, you need to join me and the Cardone Ventures team at our next live event!
We’ll cover topics that impact every aspect of your business, including mission statements. These events sell out quickly, so register now to save your seat!
Third, subscribe to the WorkWoman podcast for all the latest and greatest audio content centered on creating great teams in today’s business world. Thanks, and see you next time!