I can’t express often and loud enough how important it is for you to figure out the “why” of your organization and lead from this point. Too many companies either skip this step altogether and jump straight into the “how” and “what” of doing business or have some form of the “why” in their head but never go through the motion of expressing their vision, mission and operating values on paper.
You surely can get by without these guiding posts visible to you and your team — but realize that you will act purely on a tactical level instead of from a position of strategic direction.
Developing your VMOVA (vision, mission, operating values) is not hard — you just need to commit to it. Get all the people involved in your organization together and spend some time articulating what your purpose is (the “why” question). Use storytelling to get these answers. Ask yourself how your customers are going to see you in ten or twenty years from now. Using a longer timeframe allows you to look past the short horizon of an individual product and gets you to the essence of your organization. Take the output from this exercise and mull it over; carefully wordsmith it; make it your own. The moment you feel it’s yours, the moment you feel ready to sign it — sign it. And get it printed on big posters. Display them in your office; as a constant reminder for you and your team and to show your customers what you stand for.
Want some inspiration?
Intuit, a beacon of Silicon Valley success defined their mission (and original BHAG — their big hairy audacious goal) as “Revolutionize how people manage their financial lives”.
It doesn’t get much better than that. Clear, concise, aspirational. Something people can sign up for, get behind at and a strategic goal post for the organization.
Intuit’s operating values are:
- Customers Come First
- Integrity without Compromise
- It’s the People
- Seek the Best
- Speak, Listen, Respond
- Think, Move, Fast
- Care & Give Back
- Teams Work
- Continually Improve Processes
- Customers Define Quality
What is your VMOVA?
P.S. I learned all this from Jim Cook, an early Intuit employee and now Mozilla’s CFO. You should follow his blog. It’s enormously insightful.