Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
It’s all about strategy!
In this writing, we hope to help you to clearly understand the mechanics of personal, interpersonal and organizational missions and how they apply to the achievement of real solid goals. If you’ve been following my blog, by now you should realize that there is a subtle distinction between vision and mission. For our purposes here and in my entire VisionQuest90 „¢ system, we consider “vision” a statement of where we are going; then “mission” a statement how we intend to travel. We have to clarify this because these two points are often confused in the popular literature, worst yet in the corporate strategic plans of quite a few major organizations and municipalities. The ideas of vision and mission must exist simultaneously. If not, organizations will not be able to define a rational reason for their existence nor will they be able to garner support along the way. The same is true for interpersonal and family planning.
You see my friends; mission itself actually sets the tone and begins to outline several critically unique ideas, mission:
- Provides a framework for the tactics that will be employed
- Gives an understanding of the resources that will be used
- Carves out a unique place within the realm of possibility
- Cancels out other options
All of these ideas are best captured in well articulated and brief mission statements.
Your Framework is Almost a Spiritual Place
Yes! We are talking about principles. Principles guide all of our behavior whether we are in touch with them or not. Your love for air is keeping you breathing right now. Then again if you have air born allergies maybe your hatred of breathing makes you want to stop! Good luck keeping that up for long. Your body needs oxygen and it will make you pass out if it has to…. Anything, to make you breathe again! The point is that principles govern and are a part therefore of any good personal or organizational mission statements. They even govern if you leave them out. Take my word on this and just include them.
Your core values and principles give real life to your mission. It allows for human understand and introspection. When people read a good mission statement it’s like a little light bulb of truth instantly begin to illuminate what was once a fog filled path. We can be intimately involved with the symbolic nature of mission statements. Take these words that conclude the US Declaration of Independence:
“as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
It clearly states that in the execution of our nation’s independence we will defend ourselves, we will negotiate our own terms for peace; we will establish our own treaties for political and commercial activities as this is the only way of a free people. Furthermore, we believe that God will protect us as we commit ourselves and our fortunes to one another as well as employ all the values that we hold dear in this mission. Somehow these men knew that if they weren’t really willing to align their moral compasses to similar aims and then make a total commitment without “waiver” that their efforts to free this nation from tyranny would fail.
These were the simple rules that must exist for success to be had. It has to be the exact same with your mission statement.
Understanding Your Resources
Clearly, no strategy can be executed without the proper tools. We call these tools resources, but what has to be done to really use your resources well? Well, you’ve got to be willing to invest the time in some critical analysis. Getting answers to the following questions will be a tremendous help:
- What are all of the resources that I have at my disposal that could possibly be used to help me? List them all out so that you can see them. Remember there will be people, relationship, and emotional resources along with the tangible assets and expense related resources.
- Which of all of my resources do I have to get a better grip on to really use them well?
- How much time can I dedicate to research before I have to make my assumptions and get started? Yes, you are going to have to make some assumptions before you get started on your mission. If you absolutely know everything, maybe you’ve already achieved your goal and you’re just not giving yourself or your team credit for a job well done. Let’s get you a counselor so we can figure out your acceptance issues! Some of us have a hard time letting go and moving on to the next big thing.
- Ask yourself, is time and money that needs to be invested in training before you get started? How much time? How much money? Where is the best place to get this training? I’d start with the internet. You can’t beat the speed.
- Lastly, perform a SWOT analysis on every resource; meaning, go in and assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threat of each situation. What if a resource fails? What’s the backup plan?
I hope that you can see how important this step is. If you don’t really understand your resources before you embark on your journey; you can easily make the mistake of over preparing and carrying too much baggage or worse yet underestimating and not bringing the right tools with you. I’m reminded of a story that one of my realtor clients told me about a house that they’d listed. The owners knew that they had lowered the price of the home so that it could move on the market quickly but they had no clue that they’d receive literally hundreds of offers on their property within one weekend. Phones, faxes, and email systems were overwhelmed with bids and rebids on this property. It might as well had been a live auction without the freedom and flexibility of the live part. For the next three weeks, the realtor and his clients were stuck trying to analyze the seemingly never-ending “stream” of offers on a property that they all knew they were taking a loss on. The clients weren’t able to shop for a new home and were missing opportunities on some good properties. This ultimately caused the obvious opportunity cost losses as well as well as a deficit in reputation for my client.
Clearly all of this could have been avoided with just a little forethought and preparation. There was an opportunity to help the client set more realistic expectations, make more money and still move their house quickly. My client could have been prepared with an emergency plan to improve contract gathering systems by streamlining his office efficiencies. Maybe even working closely with other local realtors could have relieved the unexpected workload and allowed for quicker results. In any case, a well thought out strategy would have helped immensely.
Create your own uniqueness
A solid idea of mission can help you define your actions, or create a system that is uniquely you. Your personalized positioning or branding is critically important today with the sea of noise out there that is trying to capture the attention of your markets. If you are looking for a new job or trying to grow a business you must capture the attention of your markets. They’ll never trust you or your solutions if they don’t even know that you exist. Everything you do and say must be aligned with “mission”; anything else is simply a waste of time. Some of us are so clear about who we are and what we should be doing that being in business for ourselves is just a natural extension of our self-expression.
Again, aligning your mission with real purpose helps you answer questions about relevance. It helps you to seek synergy between sometimes opposing ideas as you maximize the quality of current behavior and move faster with higher levels of accuracy. Who wouldn’t want to be here? When you can demonstrate that you’ve got it together, others will accept and believe in you. There’ll be fewer questions about your experience or examination into your character.
Your special attributes begin to make perfect sense when people can readily identify them as a part of who you are “naturally.” We can all see how you come to this decision vs. another and conclusions seem naturally aligned. Everything that you do seems especially designed for you and people can trust that you can do what do with a special ease and unique flare. You’ll be so well aligned that others will want to emulate everything that you do. You’ll get the question all of the time “how did you come up with that?” or “what made you think of this?”
With this kind of synergy, you’ll be in absolute control. You’ll be able to define your market space and identify clients and contacts extremely well. You’ll be able to share these ideas with others and enlist their almost unconditional support. Gaining this support from the right clients and the perfect contacts leads to further alignment and even faster results from your productive pursuits. Your clients will feel like that they are a part of something special; something that they’ve never seen before
Kill the confusion
While a real sense of mission makes things clear but it also shoots down all of the negative options that naturally compete for your attention. It’s an absolute truth that when you know what you want and where you are going, you will be more likely to get there. You won’t pay attention to or regret the thing that you could have done. There will be no room for “would of, could of or should of” in your world. Even when there are thousands of messages coming at you every day about ideas that you might embrace or services that you could buy, you can stay focused. You can sift through all of the “so-called opportunities” and find the real gems that will propel you and your organization.
It’s also true you will actually repel ideas that would take you off track or cause you to lose focus. People that would otherwise approach you won’t. They’ll see that you wouldn’t be interested or supportive of anything that isn’t directly in-line with where you are going. You wouldn’t waste your time or that of your team members on frivolous pursuits and quick fixes. You’ll only have time for real solutions and real talent.
It’s easy to see why this aspect of “mission” is so important. I wish you all of the best in your pursuit of real meaning. Remember to embrace the inner child inside of you every day because this won’t be easy, but well worth the price of admission.
Welcome to the revolution!