In a moment of stunning revelation, Jerry Seinfeld says in an episode to Elaine, “Sex to save the friendship. If we have to, we have to!”
Somehow this pops into my mind when I think about mission statements and tasks we don’t want to do. I’m clearly deprived in a number of areas in my life, right? For one, why am I thinking about mission statements so much, and secondly, how does that have anything to do with Seinfeld and having sex with friends?
People look at mission statements as something grandiose. Something “big” … with big goals and bigger rewards. Here’s a sample of Walt Disney’s mission statement and subsequent value statements:
“To make people happy.”
- No cynicism
- Nurturing and promulgation of “wholesome American values”
- Creativity, dreams and imagination
- Fanatical attention to consistency and detail
- Preservation and control of the Disney “magic”
Mission statements are grandiose. They’re meant to infuse an organization with long-term vision and set the tone for all company goals, accomplishments and efforts. For small business owners and entrepreneurs that might feel like a lot to chew on. Most small business owners and entrepreneurs don’t have the “luxury” for strategic planning, vision planning and long-term goal setting.
But as we’ve seen, writing a mission statement and planning longer-term shouldn’t be considered a luxury.
Still, some small business owners and entrepreneurs might be skeptical. Fair enough. But here’s the bonus benefit to having a mission statement:
A mission statement can help you power through tasks you don’t want to do
Like Jerry’s revelation about sex and friendship with Elaine, small business owners and entrepreneurs need to have an “aha” moment when it comes to mission statements and tasks they don’t want to do.
We all deal with work we don’t want to do; whether it’s tedious tasks, complicated work that we’re putting off, sales (when we’re not sales people), marketing (when we’re not marketing people), dealing with frustrating vendors, etc.
In fact, if you’re a small business owner or just starting out you’re probably responsible for more of these types of tasks than the ones you really want to be doing. And getting this work done is tough. It can be de-motivating, frustrating and put your entire business and purpose into question.
Not if you have a mission statement.
The mission statement is your safety net against letting work that you don’t want to do not get done. It’s there to remind you of why you got into business, what your purpose is and how you wanted to accomplish it. It’s there to bolster your motivation and spirits when the going gets tough, boring or just plain irritating.
Without a mission statement it becomes that much easier to avoid work and situations you don’t want to deal with. There’s less of a foundation off which you can build.
So whether you believe in the “ra ra ra” of mission statements or not, recognize the value when it comes to the everyday, nitty gritty of running a business and you’ll be more successful.
Photo by flippin*sweet on Flickr.