I have written previously about the obsession with THE ONE THING. In the case of my earlier article, it was the THING that you, as a business owner, feel could turn around your business or make a big splash, if you could only get it Just Right. My point in that article is that you need to step back and consider what you’re trying to accomplish, to see if that THING will actually move the needle, or if it is more of a “shiny thing” that you’re chasing, in hopes it will fulfill its perceived promise.
There’s another kind of ONE THING that can have an enormous impact on your business: Clarity of Communication. This breeds and establishes Understanding, which is not the same thing as simply communicating…
I ran across an article on Inc.com that lists the 9 Worst Mission Statements of All Time. The subtitle is “If your mission statement contains no typos, mentions what your company does, and doesn’t go on for a whole page, you’re already doing better than these major brands.” It even provides a link to a hilarious online Mission Statement Generator, which spits them out. They sound very much like most company mission statements I’ve read and toiled under in my life.
This illustrates one of the major problems companies have in getting their teams to all work as ONE TEAM toward the common goal: everyone on the team interprets the mission JUST DIFFERENTLY ENOUGH that their efforts tend to dissipate and confusion and cynical apathy start to creep in. Brevity is important, as is simplicity, but stringing together a number of high-sounding phrases leaves WAY TOO MUCH open for individual interpretations. For example:
We will work concertedly to continually enhance holistic technology while continuing to dramatically leverage others’ e-business paradigms while promoting personal employee growth.
Aside from wondering just what this company does, can you even tell what they think is important (although a point goes out for even MENTIONING employees…), really?
Fortunately, that example is generated by the Missions Statement Generator I mentioned earlier. Nonetheless, I’ve tried to derive professional and team objectives from statements like that over the years, and failed miserably.
So, what is the ONE THING this article is about?
What is the ONE THING your company is about? If you have something other than your computer password taped to your monitor (…and shame on you if you do that….), it should be this ONE THING. This drives your strategy, your planning, your products and services, your stance on behalf of your employees, your customers, your audience and the community. Everything worthwhile about your future as a business grows out of this thought: What am I about?
Spend time thinking that through…..boil it down to its essence…write it on a 3 x 5 card….internalize it. It’s already there, you just need to “clean the fuzz” off of it, set it out, and let it drive.
Here are a few resources I find helpful in working through this kind of process: