The Mission

Many business owners express frustration at their team’s lack of passion for the organization’s work. This lack of passion often gets misdiagnosed as apathy or disloyalty when it’s often the result of a misaligned commitment to what really matters. Hear me out… 

A mission statement is a simple statement of who we are and what we do as an organization. It’s a guiding principle that outlines the organization’s purpose and reason for existing. It’s a useful recruitment tool to ensure the alignment of new team members with the organization’s purpose. It’s a great communication tool to tell customers and other external parties what you do and why. But challenges arise when the owner still runs the business. 

When the owner is still the CEO, the organization’s mission is the owner’s “why”. The owner’s “why” is the reason the owner started the company and represents the passion that the owner has for the company’s purpose and success. Many owners do a fabulous job of aligning their “why” with their company’s mission statement, but many could make their “why” clearer in the form of a more accurate or more compelling mission. When this alignment is missing, the owner is often frustrated because the team doesn’t seem to “get it” — but the team really needs greater clarity on what the owner is passionate about, and how that translates into the organization’s and team’s purpose. But, how? 

First, the mission must be something the team can care about. The owner’s passion is critical, but others must be able to rally around it. If that doesn’t happen, the company is likely to struggle for many years. Make sure the “why” and the mission are relatable and attractive to people other than the owner. 

Second, the mission and “why” must be communicated regularly with passion. They should be part of the hiring process at multiple points and critical elements of onboarding and training new hires. Even better is if this can be delivered by the owner to new team members in person or via a pre-recorded video. The passion will be contagious and palpable, and people will “get it” from the start. 

Finally, the mission and “why” must be reinforced regularly throughout the organization. This includes at staff meetings, when jointly solving complex organizational problems, and in major organizational documents like strategic plans, organizational charts, and marketing print materials. When people consistently see and hear the same purpose reinforced, they remember it, it becomes ingrained in them, and they live it almost automatically. 

A truth: the team will never be as passionate about the mission as the owner. That’s one of the things that sets the owner apart. But these few small actions can make clear and reinforce what the company is all about, and that will make all the difference in fulfilling that purpose. 


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Picture of Craig A. Escamilla
Craig A. Escamilla
Craig Escamilla helps you find solutions before problems exist. With fifteen years of consulting, teaching, and senior management experience, Craig brings a wealth of practical expertise to helping others work on rather than in their businesses.

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