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If we want to succeed in business we need clarity and consistency.

  1. We need to be clear about what we’re doing, so we know what to focus on and also what to avoid.
  2. We need consistency to constantly remind ourselves and our teams of what we are doing, because life is noisy and messy and distractions abound.

So this morning let me ask you as a business leader a very simple (but difficult) question that you need to answer:

What the hell do you do?

What is it that your organisation actually does?  What’s your mission?  What is it that gets you out of bed every day?  Why do your team come into the office every day and deliver?

  • Facebook “makes the world more open and connected.”
  • Google “organises the world’s information.”
  • Disney “makes people happy.”
  • Ford “provides personal mobility for people around the world.”
  • Walmart “saves people money so that they can live a better life.”
  • Cow on a Mission “inspires, challenges and motivates organisations to create cultures where people thrive.”

What does your organisation do?  In one sentence, what do you do on a daily basis?

And make sure it inspires.  It needs to appeal to people’s emotions.  It needs to excite and motivate your teams.  It should attract people to it like a moth to a flame.

It should be short.  It needs to be memorable; more than a couple of sentences and it’s too complicated and people won’t be able to recall it.

It should also be in the present tense.  If you can’t articulate it as if it’s happening now then it’s not what you do, it’s where you’re going.

So that’s your homework for today. Remind yourself exactly why your organisation exists.

And one final admonition: your mission should not be about making money.  It is important to differentiate between purpose and necessity.  For example, in order to live, humans must breathe; so too businesses need money to thrive.  However, oxygen, like money, is a necessity but definitely not the reason for living.

Join the conversation and perhaps inspire others by sharing your mission in the comments below.

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