Mission, Vision and You

How many of us have spent time creating Mission Statements and Visions for our teams, departments or companies.

I know I have, for my current organization we spent several weeks coming up with our Vision.

It gave us a clear sense of what we wanted to achieve and where we wanted to be.

Our Vision was “to be recognized for excellence in service delivery, with a highly skilled team, that was aligned with the company goals”.

This was a clear message, a clear statement of intent. We knew where we wanted to go, we had clear targets aligned with the vision, which were to reduce costs by $60m per annum and to increase service quality, i.e 90% on-time delivery and 95% SLA achievement.

This clarity allowed our teams to focus on what was important to us, and what was important for the company. It also allowed us to stop focusing and working on things that were irrelevant.

Not only did we meet those targets but we exceeded them.

But that’s not the point of this blog, the question I want to pose, to ask is,

How many of you have personal mission and vision statements?

How many of you know where you are going, and have quantifiable targets set that show how you are progressing?

I know I don’t have a Vision, although I do have a kind of mission statement, which is I care about the people I work with, I care about the results we achieve both individually and also collectively for the company, and also to help people become the best that they can be.

However, that is only a professional mission statement, although caring is something that flows over into my private life.

What we should all do, and i strongly include myself in this, is have a personal Vision, a dream of where we want to be, ideally we should create this and share it with our partners and our loved ones. It would probably help them better understand what is driving us, and if we can be aligned it might stop a lot of arguments along the way.

We may also be working towards a goal that we think our partners feel is important, but actually they don’t.

I have worked with many men who worked hard and long hours to provide their wives with a lifestyle they thought the wives wanted, only to find that the wives would have much preferred to have spent much more time with their husbands and couldn’t care less that they had the biggest house or newest car in the neighborhood.

If we don’t know where we are going, how will we get there?

I’ve just started reading “Wake up! Your life is calling.” by Mike Jaffe, which is a great book, makes you ask yourself a lot of questions.

Basically, are you leading the life you want or are you settling for 2nd or maybe even 3rd best!

The problem is if you have no Vision, and you don’t know what you want, then that’s a tough question to answer.

Although it’s probably a fair bet that the answer is no, and that you’re settling for 2nd or 3rd best.

Just recently I have set some personal goals, i.e. Raise money for charity by running a marathon, and also to write a book on leadership. These are two things that I would love to do, with the book it’s not that I want to become a squillionaire or anything, I just want to put my thoughts, my ideas down so that people can share them.

This is just a start though, both of these goals could be achieved by mid 2013 and I certainly intend to live much longer than that, so whats my Vision beyond that?

As I spend my vacation walking the pristine beaches of North Queensland it gives me a great deal of time to think about that – well you can’t swim in the sea because of the crocodiles, sharks, snakes and poisonous Jellyfish otherwise you might not live much longer.

But answering the question, whats my Vision is a very tough question, its hard to know what we really want, of course we all want to be rich, successful, healthy and happy.

But what does that really mean, what really makes us happy. Is it money or the things that we can do with money. Do we spend too much of our time doing things we don’t really like, just to fund the things we do like.

If you love vacations and actually are lucky enough to get 6 weeks, then remember you’re still spending 88% of our time working in order to fund the 12% of time that we enjoy. That doesn’t seem equitable to me.

Unfortunately, I have more questions than answers, but at least the questions are being asked!

Why not ask yourself and see what you come up with.

Remember if you don’t know where you want to go you will never get there.

We only get one life and it would be a shame to look back and say if only.

Why not ask that question now, take that chance, live that life!