Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.
― Leonardo da Vinci
Vision and mission statements have long been the rage in organizations as they supposedly define what the organization is about. So do you know what your organization’s vision or mission is? Right now? I thought so. I bet it’s hanging on the wall in some conference room, gathering dust. Unfortunately that’s all too common.
A couple other problems I have with vision and mission statements is the question always seems to be “what is the vision versus what is the mission?” The terms themselves aren’t very clear and create confusion. Finally, I’ve seen far too many cases where the true mission of a company was to “make money” and the vision was to “make a lot of money.” Seriously.
This is why I prefer a “purpose” or “why?” statement. I believe it is far more clear in terms of definition, and therefore easier to own and promote. Why did you create your company? Why does it exist? What problem are you trying to solve?
The “Why?” of Gemba Academy is “Remove the struggle of continuous improvement training.” It’s that simple, but it says a lot. We started the company to help smaller organizations that otherwise could not access high quality continuous improvement training, but thanks to our Why? we include large multinationals that are struggling to deploy training across global locations.
Like many other organizations that use a Why? instead of Vision, we do have a Mission that further defines how we execute to support the Why?. Our Mission talks about how we create high quality content, then we support organizations to get started on the continuous improvement journey, and finally we support them to sustain the journey.
Although the founders, owners, and leadership team often work to create the Principles, Why? and Mission, it is important to use a process we’ll discuss in more detail in the Create a Hoshin Plan section that engages employees. By doing so you create acceptance, ownership, and understanding of the foundational statements. Now you have a core set of Principles, a Why? statement, and a Mission. With these three statements setting a perspective you can proceed to review and analyze your organization.
I’ve discussed your organization, but what about you? What is your Why, your purpose? Cornell University researchers recently confirmed that a sense of purpose decreases impulsivity, thereby making choices that pay of better in the long term. Perhaps something to contemplate on your next seijaku experience.