Is Your Playing Field Level?
Today I was working with a client on his personal business strategy goals. I’m a firm believer that just as a company has strategic objectives, “Company You” should also have goals and clear steps to reach your desired life goals. After all, before you can move forward, you need a clear understanding of the framework within which you operate to ensure that you stay focused and on track. My client asked me to tell him about my own. They are simple and easy for me to remember.
As a five-year old little girl growing up in Peru and Mexico, I faced many without food, education or basic common necessities. I grew up somehow believing that my role was to help provide resources and assistance to help those who were not afforded equal opportunities whether because of financial needs, gender or lack of knowledge. This has showed up in my life time and time again as a woman, an attorney, teacher and founder of a non-profit that supports this mission. I think about my mantras and believe we should all have guide posts. Mine are, “I envision a world in which everyone operates on a level playing field.” “Providing resources to support scalable solutions.” “Sharing knowledge generously for the common good of all.”
My client asked me to help him with his, so I thought I would share the process with you. Like a business, having your own vision, mission and values statements is an excellent way to start. The framework forms a three-legged stool of support and reinforcement to your personal credo. And, they are most effective when they are not all glummed up together in combo statements. How do they differ?
Your Vision Statement – The “Why” is a concise but memorable and inspirational summary that describes the positive impact you want to make on the world around you. It acts as your North Star keeping you, and others you bring on your journey, focused and on target. Visionaries think big, they are a source of inspiration to all those around them. Your vision statement should reflect your hopes and desires to make a difference in the world in a particular way and to reflect what is possible for the community you want to serve. I like to start the statement with “I envision a world in which ……” as it makes it more personal to you and those who champion you. Ultimately, it will be up to you to hold the vision like a beacon of light on the horizon for those you bring on your journey with you. Without a vision, why do the work? It’s like a ship without a rudder.
Your Mission Statement – The “What” outlines the work that you must do to get to the ultimate destination. It contains action words such as spreading, celebrating, confronting, honoring, empowering, providing, engaging, finding or discovering. It keeps you and your tribe on task and on the same page, moving forward together without drifting when daily check lists veer off course and off compass. Basically, this is your implementation guideline. How often have you read combo mission/vision statements that sounded like hype rather than a map and path forward for those trying to implement the work. Probably, too often.
Your Values Statement – The “How” expresses your core values and sets boundaries within which you will execute your mission to reach your vision. It is the “how” that must travel with the “why” and the “what” and reflects the core principles within which you operate. These values must be alignment with your Mission and Vision and visibly integrated into the way that you show up in the world as Company You. Like a mirror, they attract others with the same values and the same desire to leave a positive impact on the world. As you write your Values Statement, you will want to use actionable verbs, not intangibles (i.e. Do more with Less.) What your Values Statement is not, is a code of ethics or platitudes used for marketing or hype or to fill up empty pages in a journal, it is a way of life and a framework you rely on as you make decisions.
It is critical that you look at each statement to make sure that they do not repeat themselves or give conflicting messages. Each must stand on its own for the purpose that it is intended yet work collectively to complete the set. They are the guideposts for Company You and once nailed down, you will have a map to reach your ultimate goals within a solid, well-defined framework and structure.
All three of these statements should be the foundation and criteria of every decision that you make. Habits can and will be created through continual use of your Vision, Mission and Value Statements in your personal brand, your work, your community giveback and your family life. Ultimately, they represent the authentic you and what makes you unique and special. They are part of each day as sure as that first cup of coffee or first customer call, steady and predictable.
Copyright © 2017 Linda L. Lattimore
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