Have you ever read the average company’s vision and mission statements?
No, wait. Have you ever worked for a company that had vision and mission statements?
Sorry, wait again. Do you even know the difference between a vision and a mission?More than likely, and I’m talking a huge majority of the time, they’re meaningless. Don’t get me wrong. A lot of hard thinking goes into creating them, by some very smart people, and they are important…when they’re done right. But they’re meaningless because most people – employees, customers, partners – don’t get it. Or they don’t buy into them. Or they just don’t believe in them.
Here’s a typical example of a vision gone wrong (courtesy of our friends at Brighthub.com):
“Develop, deploy, and manage a diverse set of scalable and strategic knowledge management tools to serve our customers, improving the possibility of overall satisfaction among our diverse customer profiles.”
So many big words, and yet it does a horrible job of conveying anything substantial. So generic, it feels that one of a whole bunch of different companies can use it. Can you imagine any employee being able to repeat this to their families around the dinner table?
Now there’s a new rule! If you can’t tell your kids what your company does in one simple sentence and have them answer, “Cool! How do you do that?” you’re don’t really know what your company does.
So let’s forget about visions and missions. Let’s focus on your purpose. Let’s get a little deeper and talk about your core purpose. Let’s talk about your reason to get out of bed in the morning, each and every day. Let’s talk about your passion. What really drives you to be the person you are and you want to be?
In a column for the Huffington Post, entrepreneur Michael Tasner puts it beautifully:
There’s a great parable we use to eloquently demonstrate what core purpose means, and it goes like this…
“It’s something that will be with you in good times and in bad and help drive you like there is no tomorrow.”
Once upon a time in 17th century Europe, a man was walking through a small town and came upon a construction site and saw three bricklayers getting ready to do a day’s work. He smiled, thinking about how important a craft these bricklayers had. So he stopped and asked the first bricklayer, “What are you making?”
“Can’t you see, I’m laying bricks,” he answered somewhat curtly.
He walked a little further and asked the second bricklayer, “What are you making?”
“I am building a wall,” the second bricklayer replied, with some pride in his voice.
Finally, the man went a little further, stopped, and asked the third bricklayer, “What are you making?”
The third bricklayer paused, looked the man in the eye and with a big smile on his face and full of enthusiasm, said, “I am building a cathedral!”
All three were working on the same building, yet only one saw the core purpose of his work.My two cents: figure out if you are just laying bricks or are you building something of significance.
For what it’s worth, here’s my core purpose:
“To help others find and fulfill their full potential.”
For more examples of core purpose, click here.