Better Trumps Brand New
We often run into a misconception about mission: We think we have to begin anew and start from scratch, coming up with a mission that’s brand spanking new.
Not necessarily. In fact most times, we don’t need new at all. We need to tweak, to adjust, or in drastic cases, apply a defibrillator to it, because our mission has shown the symptoms of being too common, too blah and boring.
The test of a mission is rather simple: Does it get you to jump out of bed in the morning, eager to start your day’s work, or not?
We all know that a great mission is a meaningful cause. A reason for working on something you feel is important and worthwhile. But beyond the cause, and I would argue even more important, is that a great mission is vibrant, dynamic, exciting, and buzzing with barely restrained energy. It is entirely possible to have a cause that has lost its luster, but remains vitally important, say poverty, or climate change or noble management, and attach a mission to it that gets the luster back, jump starting new work with turbo-charged intentions.
Intention and fresh, highly attuned attention are the operative words — they are what we want to gain when we work on our mission statements. In our current value immersion, it is very easy to apply the value of Ho‘ohanohano to mission as a tweaking and readjustment: What gives your mission the dignity and respect it deserves to command?
Creative types love pointing out that most of what we need as human beings has already been invented, and that those inventions and creations simply need to be better, opening up a whole spectrum of possible work on them.
They’re right. If you think your mission evokes little more than a “meh.” reaction to it, I’ll bet that making it BETTER is what you need to do.
The Mission~Vision Connection is Vital
Second, you must be sure that your refreshed Mission statement does serve this purpose: Working on your mission, day in and day out, will get you to the bundle of accomplishments your vision represents.
To revisit our basic definitions:
Your mission is what you do best every day, and your vision is what the future looks like because you do that mission so exceedingly well.
For remember: Vision is not static and stodgy either. By design, a great vision will get progressively better and better as well.
As you have read, I’m a coach who applies the word ‘cause’ to mission, because I champion getting small wins on a daily basis, not waiting for the too-distant future. Yet the future is bright, and we are optimistic about arriving there: In our Managing with Aloha vocabulary, vision is about the future, and mission is about daily work.
Mission is like an arrow: It points toward the vision it’s working to attain. Once it gets close, and most of the work that mission represents is done, leaders start working on revising or renewing the vision: They reassess what the work has discovered, visualize their next vision, and value-map their next mission.
If they don’t, their company is done.
In two words, the vision of Managing with Aloha when published a decade ago, was responsible management. To achieve our vision, we chose value alignment as our mission, and we constantly re-energize with our value immersion focus, as can you: Value Your Month for One — You.
Does that excite everyone? No, but it lights a fire in the eyes of people destined to be Alaka‘i Managers, and they, and those they serve, are the people we (at my business, Say Leadership Coaching) are committed to.
Your Managing with Aloha Resources:
- In the book, mission and vision are covered with the value of ‘Imi ola, “to seek life.” In a re-reading, I would suggest you follow it up with a review of chapter 2 on Ho‘ohana as well (book excerpt): Flip-flopping the reading of those two chapters has proven to be helpful to several people I know.
- My best advice to you is this: Don’t get overly intellectual about mission and vision, for the best ones are highly emotional — give in to what you want and what you dream of. That simple test — Do they make you jump out of bed every morning? — is the only test you really need.
- So go with your gut: Trusting Your Intuition. As personal affirmations, great missions and visions have nothing to do with competing with anyone else — they are only about you and what you want: The instinctive, natural selection of Wanting.