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Many businesses never really take the time to define their mission and vision.
Without a defined mission and vision, your business can quickly lose focus and drift off in the wrong direction.
After The Launch is a podcast that will help you define your mission and vision for your business, and then show you how to implement them so you can see real results.
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- 5:17 The Difference Between Mission & Vision
- 6:07 How Do You Manage Your Desires and Inspirations
- 7:25 Casting Your Vision to a Large Staff
- 11:36 Keep The Vision Simple
- 12:26 How To Refine The Vision & Mission
- 14:36 Where to Get Knowledge and Data into Refining The Vision & Mission
- 15:30 Refocus as an Organization
- 18:40 Part of Your Gut Feeling is Your Knowledge
- 19:53 How Does Your Vision-Mission Statement Look Like
- 22:34 How Did Your Mission Change
- 24:27 The Value in Giving Content to Small Businesses
- 26:00 Don't Be Afraid to Talk About What You Do & How You're Doing It
- 29:02 Looking at New Things and Making Hard Decisions
- 31:50 Be Willing to Let Go of the Things That Don't Work For Us
- 35:22 Purpose & Value Statements
- 38:22 Change is Okay When You Adapt to What's Going On
- 39:04 Make Sure Your Mission-Vision Foundation is Solid
- 42:11 Having a Personal Vision Statement
Vincent Aguirre: Hello everyone, my name is Vincent Aguirre. I'm the president of Distinct and the host of Small Business Squad. Today I'm joined by Scott Monnet and Ken Idle, two familiar faces. And we're gonna be talking about what comes After The Launch. We're titling this After The Launch: My business Vision is Clouded. Scott, Ken, how are you guys doing?
Ken Eitel: Doing great, Vince.
Scott Monnett: Doing great.
Vince: Good! Happy to be here with you guys. And a few minutes late, but we're here. So that's what's important. So… Ken? Oh, there he is. Okay.
Ken: No, I'm here. Oh, sorry. Shall we launch into this, then?
Vince: Let's launch right in! We're after the launch if you will.
Ken: That's great. Let me just do a little quick review here and kind of bring people up to what we've talked about. They haven't been able to be with us before. What we've talked about first was finance. We talked about the Essentials of Finance, we talked about the importance of good information, how you use that information, to guide your business to manage your business. And then we took on another subject that can always be challenging, that's Managing Employees, and about how we do that, how we hire, what might be good, and how that process works. But what we're going to talk about today is Vision and Mission. And now those are two words that aren't quite as concrete, as what finances and manage employees are. These might be what some people might be called intangibles. Well, you know, it's harder to find what a vision is, it's harder to find what a mission is. And as we get into that, I would just say that the things we talked about first, which were finance and managing employees, that's part of the knowledge you need to develop your vision and to develop your mission. And oftentimes, I think when people are planning a business before the launch, they get really excited about their vision and their mission. And they get open, and then all of a sudden, there's all of these tangible things that they have to manage. And they kind of forget about it. They kind of forget about what their path is where they think they could go to be successful. And then something that happens is something that a term I've run across, which is Mission Drift. And, you know, I tell people, I'm retired, I'm really kind of trying to drift out of being active. Well, you know when you get a drift, things just kind of happens. And you don't really know it until all of a sudden, you're someplace, well, in a business, or in a nonprofit, which Scott's involved in. It's really easy when you're passionate about something, or when you're involved in the day-to-day and you're looking for more business, or you've got issues to really forget maybe where you came from. It's really easy in all the busyness to kind of forget what your direction was what you wanted to do. We're going to talk about it a little bit. I know that Vance and Scott both have been involved, as I have in revisioning. And looking at your mission and trying to decide where you need to go next. Or do you need to pull back and so, let me define mission first. And then I'll also talk about vision. But a mission drift, as the term indicates, is basically what happens when your organization starts to move away from your goals. You kind of move away from those goals, as you outlined in your mission statement. And why should a business be concerned about mission drift? Scott, in the nonprofit world, what happens?
Scott: Sorry, I'm muted so you didn't hear me drinking and now you can hear me talking. You know, it's funny, when I saw this topic, come up for conversation, I just kind of chuckled because, in the nonprofit sector, in the social sector, it is such a prevalent issue, especially coming out of the last two years of COVID. And all of the needs that began to surface during that time that it was so easy for organizations to start to drift away from the mission, their focus because at the end of the day, we as a social service provider, we're here to help people and yes, our mission may be one thing, but if somebody is hurting in another area, we want to help them and then we want to help this group and then we want to help that group. So, in the nonprofit sector, it's an everyday battle that providers have to face because there are so many issues and challenges that are linked to what we're serving on a daily basis. That we feel like we can also help folks with.
Ken: What about in the tech world, Vince?
Vince: Yeah, I would say it's not that different, to be honest. You know, we pride ourselves on being mission-based and wanting to really support small businesses, and sometimes we have to pump the brakes and realize, we can't be everything for all businesses, we need to use our mission and our vision as a guiding principle as to where we're headed. And not get too far off of that. So, I think it's similar in a lot of ways.
5:17 The Difference Between Mission & Vision
Ken: Yeah, these two words, Vision and Mission, at first look at first glance you can see very similar. You know, what's the difference? Well, to me, vision is a much more intangible kind of dream, so to speak. Whereas the mission is much more concrete. But definition-wise, a vision statement is, it says is a mental image of what you want your business to become. At some point in the future, it just talks about your goals and your aspirations. Whereas a mission statement is one that is more concise. It kind of explains the organization and the reasons it exists. And it kind of describes the organization's purpose and overall goals and the way they want to go. So, from a vision statement, do we have the same desires and inspirations for the future would be a question you'd want to ask. Does my organization, does my staff? But how do you, when you have a staff and I know Vince, you have more outside contractors than you do staff? But for yourself? How do you get the desires? How do you match your desires and your inspiration with your business?
6:07 How Do You Manage Your Desires and Inspirations
Vince: So, it's been really challenging over the years. Here recently, we're starting to onboard some employees and really have a more dedicated team, we've really focused on building out what we call a Vivid Mission, which is a long-term guiding document to really get into the more specifics. For us, our vision statement is really the way we want to see the world summarized and how we can make an impact. But you know, for me, it's reflecting on my, with my contractors and my team, to make sure we're all on the same page and working towards that same goal. So, it's a little bit more unique, since we don't have a lot of full-time employees. But to me, it's still important to include them and include some of our clients as well, to make sure we're assisting them in moving towards a position that actually impacts our clients as well.
7:25 Casting Your Vision to a Large Staff
Ken: Scott, how do you cast a vision that your staff or your employees, which is larger than Vince's kind of buy-in, so to speak?
Scott: Yeah, so my agency, we're in a unique situation, we have 28 employees, across six counties. So it's not just the number of employees, it's also the locations as well, that we have to make sure that vision because each county we serve is unique in its own way, and especially in some of the needs, or support mechanisms that aren't there. So, I think for us, I think we do a good job, our leadership team does a good job here, of looking at the overall mission and goals of the agency, kind of the six standards in which we operate, and they're able to, what I'm able to do is take that and feed it into our various program areas, okay, from a domestic violence side, this is what we can do to impact our mission, our vision in a certain way. Same thing with healthy families. And then that makes it easier for our program staff. As they're making decisions about how to serve clients, or when to serve our clients or to refer a client to a different service. It gives them, kind of a guiding light, there to say, you know, our role is this with our vision and our standards. And if it's outside of that, then there may be somebody else we need to bring to the table to serve. And so, I think it's very, it's taking that elephant and making it small bite-size pieces for the frontline staff to consume.
Ken: Scott, do you have a separate mission statement or use have a vision statement or one or the other.
Scott: We have a mission statement. And then we have a vision statement, just to kind of give us an idea to understand our part in the big picture. So, our mission statement is “to promote a community where no one is abused, and all families have the support they need to live healthy lives.” And in that healthy lives, families and healthy lives, incorporates a lot in there and it would be very easy for us to go down a lot of roads, that's where that mission creep comes in. But the basis of our agency is the prevention of abuse, whether it's sexual domestic, or child abuse in our the base of the work that we do. Our vision statement is, “we're here to promote a strong and healthy community, one family at a time.” And the vision statement allows us to say we have a role in the bigger picture of a strong and healthy community. And so, we have to be a part of collaborations we have to be a part of conversations that are bigger than our agency because we play a big part in developing that strong and healthy community. But our mission statement really, really narrows down what part of that strong and healthy community we play in those communities we serve in.
Ken: Vince, I think, if I remember correctly, we'll talk about your current one in more detail. But what you've done is pretty much combines the mission and vision statement into one, one document, or do you have something that's separate? In terms of vision versus mission?
Vince: Yeah, so we do have a separate mission and vision. And then the vivid vision kind of takes that even further into, you know, a multi-page document.
Ken: Okay, so are what is then your mission statement compared to your vivid vision statement?
Vince: So, our mission is, “To focus our talent and energy on supporting small businesses with expertise and tools to help them build a strong local digital presence and reclaim local business through targeted marketing.” Then our vision statement, our short vision statement is, “To strengthen communities by helping small businesses thrive through successful marketing advising, strong marketing and strategy is key to competing against big corporations and bolstering local economies.” Now, our vivid vision I couldn't get into here, it would take a long time to read. But for anyone who wants to read it, they can go to becomedistinct.com/about. and download it there. Like I said, it's about 4 pages long.
11:36 Keep The Vision Simple
Ken: So, we're gonna talk a little bit about some of those types of things that your vivid vision talks about, which is a lot more in detail. But one of the things that I have talked about a lot is how important it is to keep these things simple. And I know Scott, when you quoted your vision, it was one sentence. And while I never got to the point where I had a one-sentence, since vision statement, everything that you go and you hear about these is that every employee ought to be able to say your vision statement, and they ought to have it memorized. And so, I can see that with your vision statement, Scott at a family support services. I don't think I ever was in that particular position necessarily. What about you, Vince. I mean, I know you remember it, but could someone quote your vision statement in one sentence?
Vince: Yeah, probably not. It might be on the longer side.
Ken: Okay. But not 4 pages, right?
Vince: Not 4 pages.
12:26 How To Refine The Vision & Mission
Ken: Okay. All right. So, we can see here where those things differ. We talked a little bit about mission drift. I think the question I would have to ask is, “Do we still exist for the same reason?” And I think that I've been involved in startups in business planning, where businesses have had the dream of starting a program of grants, or an endowment, or their own foundation. And those are wonderful dreams. And they're wonderful community things to do. But the reality of the fact of once they've launched and had been open a couple of years, maybe things need to change. Vince, I know you've been in that situation a couple of times, for various reasons, not because things were going down the wrong way but just, I think you'd recognize the market changed. And I think that's the other reason to change, vision and mission statements, or at least tweak them some, talk a little bit about why and how, and just that process you went through as you tried to refine your vision and your mission for your business.
Vince: Yeah, I think you kind of summarized. When we see the market changing, we definitely want to be able to adapt to it. And sometimes that might not fit within the scope of the mission or vision, but it might be necessary. So, for us, we leaned on advisors, like you and other advisors to really understand how we can adapt and be agile in a changing market, right? Before COVID even there was a change in our market. And then during COVID, things change even more. So really making sure that we can be adaptable, even if that does mean some small tweaks to the mission of vision.
Ken: And how did you do that?
Vince: Like I leaned into advisors, took a step back, and understood where the markets going and how we can accommodate it. And also, being cognizant of not getting away from our core. So, making sure that we stick to the foundation of making really high-quality websites, which is what we do and do best, but being able to open that up just enough to accommodate different clients and different needs.
14:36 Where to Get Knowledge and Data into Refining The Vision & Mission
Ken: So let me ask that question a different way. Where did you find the knowledge and the data and the information necessary to feel like your new vision and your new mission were better than where you were?
Vince: I think to us, it was really leaning on our current clients and the work we were doing and getting an understanding of where they were guiding us. So that was definitely the driving force. But then leaning on outside experts, outside advisors, people in our field and outside of our field, and getting a sense in that direction as well. And then part of its gut, right, just the gut instinct of seeing everything coming together with my experience and understanding where the world's going and how we can be adaptable and really be positioned to be successful in that world.
Ken: So, when we get done talking to Scott about this, remind me to talk about, ‘Gut Instinct' in the business sense. So, Scott, talk about what I just talked about with Vince, because I know you came into an organization that had some mission drift, and needed some refocus and talk with me about how you did that, where you found the data, and how that process worked for you.
15:30 Refocus as an Organization
Scott: Coming into an organization, my situation was unique, and the previous leader had been 16 years. And I think we all maybe even said, in our last get-together that with the length of time that you're doing something you get comfortable in what you do. And so, I think even the agency had gotten a little comfortable in how they were doing, how they were operating. And I think when you get comfortable, you stop challenging yourself. Drift also comes in; you start to look at different ways and different things that excite you. So, for us, we just had to refocus a bit as an organization, and one it just came from, just from a leadership standpoint, that it was open and honest and transparent, that, my job as the leader is not to stand over the team and tell you how to do your job and give you the focus that you need. My job is to provide you with the resources. So that you know how to do that. And so, I was very fortunate our mission statement, with a little tweaking was already here and established. Our agency is who it's been since 1976 when the first group of women leaders in our community came together and said we need to start addressing the abuse issue. So, the mission was in place, and the vision actually came out, I don't know that it was defined as the vision for our organization. But it was on a few letterheads and a few different items that we had. And I think that it became the inherited vision without anybody actually saying, “this is the vision of our organization.” And so we were able to adopt that and bring it in, and then in what I brought in were the six standards, to how we were going to do that job, you know, and just going through those very quickly, we're going to provide quality services that are preventative in nature, you know, so our staff knows that we're there to prevent the issues that we're trying to address. We're going to provide community education, we're going to promote positive parenting techniques, we're going to promote victims’ rights, and we're going to provide the best care and service to all we encounter. And we're going to leverage our relationships in the community in support of others. And those six standards are actually I think, what helped tie everything together, and allowed us to reframe, reframe as an agency because it really focused on what we're here to do as advocates in an advocacy agency.
18:40 Part of Your Gut Feeling is Your Knowledge
Ken: So, it occurs to me listening to both of you that something we're going to talk about in a few minutes, which is, which is a value statement, that your six purposes really are a value statement. And some of the things that Vince talked about, were value statements. So, we're gonna talk about how those have come about here in a few minutes. But let me talk a little bit about what Vince called, you know, your gut feeling. You know, I think that's an easy thing to talk about. It's a hard thing to explain. But I'd like to fill the premise out that part of that is your knowledge. And I just want to continue to go back to some of our first sessions, because I find so many people that base their gut feeling on no statistics, and no data. And no actual, it's just, “Yeah, this is what I feel.” well, you develop smart feelings, I guess, I would say, or smart decisions based around having good information and talking to other people. I don't know whether you have, but this may not have had a formal focus group. But I'm guessing he had a bunch of guys or gals sitting around talking about it. You know, who knows where I might have been Starbucks…
Vince: Co Putnam Inn.
Ken: Whatever that might be. But and I'm sure Scott, you probably had some kind of focus groups. To come together to talk at you may not have changed that much, but I'm going to talk about it.
19:53 How Does Your Vision-Mission Statement Look Like
Ken: So, what sort of mission vision and mission statement look like? Well, I think there are four things I have made a note about here, one is, in the case of retail, and really well, we all have a product, I guess you would say, or service. So, what are you offering your customer? As you try to think about your vision and mission? What are you offering the customer? How will my product or service fail? What personal qualities and skills do I possess as an individual? And then add to that, and how will my business build value? So, how do we use this, if at all? And of course, in trying to keep it simple and not make it too wordy? Well, I think as I looked at those things, and I think one really good example for me is I realized that yeah, I sold flowers, but what I really sold was emotions. And so, as I tried to develop a mission statement and a vision statement, I tried to remember that every people called Eitel's Flowers because they wanted to say, thank you, or I love you, or I want to encourage you. And so, anything that we sold, really kind of maybe ought of fit that vision of that mission. And so those things come from really knowing what you do, learning who you are learning what you do. So, we developed a mission statement around anything we sold had to have some relationship to flowers. It had to smell, it had to be pleasing to the eye. It had to please the senses, I guess, I would say. And our mission drift was when we began to get away from and get into gift items. Yes, a wedding is something emotional, but a bridal registry didn't necessarily fit. And so, we soon began to realize that took inventory dollars away from our business because it sat on the shelf, the competition was much greater, and the market really changed with the internet. And ultimately, we also realized looking at the financials of core businesses still 80% floral. And frankly, that's where the money was. That's where the profit came from. So, our floral business was supporting all that gift inventory sitting on the shelves. And so, we kind of drifted away from our core. I would submit that, given the market today, if I was still in the flower business all I'd be selling flowers, I wouldn't have all that other at this particular point the way the market is. So, Vince talk to me about how your market changed over the last, what have you been in business for 10 years?
Vince: Just about. Yeah.
Ken: Talk to me about how changes like that happened with you. And you had either mission drift or as you changed your mission?
22:34 How Did Your Mission Change
Vince: Without getting too far into the nitty-gritty, I think the amount of services and offerings that small businesses have has shifted a lot in the last decade. For one small example is when I first started, we really wanted small businesses to take advantage of Facebook ads, and we couldn't convince them to do it to save our lives, we would offer them free consulting, and they wouldn't do it. Then we went through a phase where some clients wanted us to do it for them. And we started really focusing on Facebook ads. And now clients feel comfortable doing it themselves. It's kind of, we've kind of come back to that full circle where you know, they don't, there's no room for us, there's no room in the market for us to be running ads for small businesses because they don't have the budget or the marketing need for us to do that. And they feel comfortable doing it themselves now. So that's something that really was becoming a core part of our business and our mission and our vision for the future until we realize that Facebook doesn't want us to be in the middle. They want businesses to do it themselves. And now we've kind of come back full circle to focusing really heavily on the websites, for those who want a website and don't want to manage it themselves. That website industry has so many Do It Yourself options, but we still see such a huge market for those who don't want to do that themselves. But they do want to do things like Facebook, Instagram, create graphics, the things they consider fun, but they don't want to do things they consider hard work like websites. So that's just a couple of examples of how things have shifted and how we've had to adapt throughout that time period.
24:27 The Value in Giving Content to Small Businesses
Ken: So, I also know, though, that you also like what we're doing here, are working on establishing your reputation as a content provider. So, you want to talk about how that process became integrated and why?
Vince: Absolutely. So, while, we don't see the market for consulting fees for those things, we do see the value in giving content to small businesses. Sure, some of them might end up engaging with us on a website, but by providing the services and allowing customers who want to do it themselves, to do it themselves with our guidance and with our content, it really allows us to build those relationships with more people. And like you kind of like you alluded to show our expertise, even if we're not getting a consulting fee for doing that.
Ken: Scott, I know you said that your vision statement was pretty well in place. But I think you had to ask yourself these questions as you went through that process. And knowing kind of where the organization is now, and where it was, it was, I would just say, wasn't widely known. It is much more so now. I think the organization has some initiatives that correlate with that. Talk about how that came about, and how that kind of you drew out of what I would call mission drift, or just not being around like you should have been talking about how that came about and why that's been so important to you to change those visions of missions, or what you're doing at least.
26:00 Don't Be Afraid to Talk About What You Do & How You're Doing It
Scott: I think for me, and if I had my staff, and especially the leadership team here in the room with me, they would be shaking their heads aggressively up and down agreeing with the statement in that. One of the benefits I brought coming in is I'm not from this industry, right? I was not in the direct client service field. I know nonprofit business; I know running the business side of organizations like this. But I didn't come from the victim services side and the advocacy side. And so, what I was able to do coming in is I was able to ask the ‘why question'. And one thing that we often talk about, and I share is that, when you're working with victims of violence and working with families that are needing supportive services, the first thing that we always talk about is confidentiality. And I think that word, and that became so prevalent in our organization, that it actually inhibited the organization from telling the story about what we're doing, and sharing as an agency, what we do on a daily basis. And so, coming from a storytelling background from organizations that really live by the story that we can tell, and connecting folks to the services that we provided, it was very easy for me to say that we have to stop hiding behind confidentiality, we can be confidential, and yet still have permission to tell stories, and still have, talk about what we do on a regular basis without exposing which clients we're doing that with from a service standpoint, and I will tell you, it was not comfortable for staff. We had a lot of folks who were very uncomfortable in the beginning. But the transformation for those staff members that were here before and are still here now is unbelievable. Because now they're very open. They're very outward, they're sharing on their social media feeds about the work that they're doing, and they're talking about it in the community. We had staff that was in the, for lack of a better term, they were desk jockeys, right, they sat at a desk, they waited for the client to come in, now we're mobile, we're out, we're meeting clients out in the community, and we're words, taking them places and transporting them and serving them different ways. It's completely transformed our service delivery model because we're not afraid to talk about what we do and how we do it. So, I think the new ideas are what broke us out of that kind of that drifting, we were just we weren't drifting away, we were just drifting without any direction, kind of that rudderless ship and I think that I like to, I provide the rudder so that they can do the great work.
29:02 Looking at New Things and Making Hard Decisions
Ken: I would just share with you, I think you both may know it, but for those who might be watching, I came into the floral business without any floral training as well. And so, while I've been in interior design, and those kinds of areas and all of that kind of thing. I came in as a businessperson, I came in with a different set of glasses. It wasn't a set, design, although I learned to do all that eventually. But I was there to make a profit. And I was there to you know, to grow a business and that training outside of that business. And I would guess the same as Scott, that training in other nonprofit areas. While you have a passion for what you're doing. It's invaluable because you do look at things in a very different way. And so, to kind of carry that through to our discussion. You know, you said, and I agree to look at your vision and your mission. And to question whether you were right when you opened your business is hard. It's pretty personal, it's like, you might have the attitude that I failed. Well, that's wrong, you did a lot of learning. And you need now to have the biggest the courage to take and relook at what you're doing with the information you now have, whether it's a gut feeling, or whether it's financial, and you need to say, “Okay, I need to make some tweaks here. Or I need to add something, take something away.” I mean, it's really hard to take things away and realize that they aren't working but you have to do that and move forward. And those are the businesses and frankly, the nonprofits that thrive, are those that are able to look at new things and to make those really hard decisions. So, before we move on to the purpose statement, and value statement, anything else you guys would like to add in terms of why you need to watch for mission drift, why it's important to do this, and all that kind of stuff?
Vince: So, I would say one thing, I realized, as we moved from the traditional mission vision into the vivid vision. It's hard as a business owner, to really understand what all of your team members are thinking. And sometimes you feel they may see your vision, and they don't. So, as you drift and as you allow the business to drift, it's really important to come back to that center and really engage with each team member and make sure they see it. And it's not just something that you're dreaming of. And that's what the vivid vision allows us to really think about the specifics, the nitty-gritty of like, where we're heading, and allowing the team to engage with me in a way that never happened prior to having those discussions.
31:50 Be Willing to Let Go of the Things That Don't Work For Us
Scott: From my standpoint, one of the things that Ken, you, and I've talked about multiple times, is the thing that happens in the nonprofit sector is the building of silos, right? And it's typically it's centered around dollars; it's centered around services. It's centered around the best outcomes for clients, but we all want to have our sandbox that we play in. And sometimes we want others to play in it. But make sure you shake all of our sand off before you go back to your sandbox, right? We don't want, we don't want you to take any of our sand away. And I think the only way that we can stay, that we can drift in and out and we can help and support each other as organizations is, is really breaking down those silos. And otherwise, what I become if I want to stay in my silo as an organization, then what I try to be inside my silo is everything to everybody. And then I'm drifting away from what I can do. But even if we get into a temporary initiative as an organization or a temporary program, if we evaluated over time and say, “You know what, there's a better place for this asset to be. When we look at asset mapping, there's a better place for this asset to be in our community to serve our community in a better way.” Then, as a leader, I have to be open to that and say, “It's this has been a good spot for this program to start. But it's okay for us not to do this anymore. Let's pass this to this organization.” Or, in the case of one program, and I'll use tax time was every Tuesday, free two-hour childcare program we did in our community, it lived for 30 years. And it was no cost. But what it was designed to do when it started, wasn't what it was doing when we finished it. And that was tough. The 30-year-old program, something that has been part of our legacy, to say we can either change the direction of the program, or we can just say this doesn't fit us anymore, and we opted to in that program. So, I think we have to be very honest. And I think we have to be willing to let go of the things that don't work for us, but then also pass them off to our partners so that we can continue to work together to better serve the communities.
35:22 Purpose & Value Statements
Ken: As we begin to kind of transition here, I would go back and kind of looked at the mission statement that we had towards the time that I sold. And I don't know about you all, but I tend to occasionally look at my vision statement, which I actually just call a mission statement, to keep it simple. So, when we talked about it in employee meetings, they tried to define the differences of what we're talking about here. It just didn't we didn't need to take the time to do that. And so, but I would refer to that if we were thinking about doing something major. I was surprised how many times I went back and looked at my mission statement and how that helps me focus on what I was doing. I also used it when I interviewed new employees. So, I don't know whether you all have done that or not. But I think it's really great if someone you're looking to hire is able to sit down and read through your mission or vision statement, and they can see what you stand for what you do what your business truly is, I think it's really important to us that and that's why it's important to keep it up to date. There are two other things that I think I call them trending, that really weren't around until what I think at least the last decade, they may have been, and I just wasn't exposed to them. But one of those is a purpose statement, which I think either has a purpose statement or vision and mission statement. But that's kind of my own personal opinion. A purpose statement is a single statement that defines the reason your company exists. I think Scott, maybe your vision statement, is equally like a purpose statement. How do you feel about that, Vince as far as purpose statements? I mean, are you more of a purpose statement than a true vision mission statement?
Vince: I don't know. We haven't had a formal purpose statement in the past. It's not something I'm overly familiar with. I feel in a lot of ways our mission, our vision, combined define our purpose. But it's not something that we've really taken the time to kind of outline.
Ken: The other one is called a value statement. I think you heard Scott's six points. And I think that's pretty close to what that is. But I went looking back at the mission statement we had, clearly in the last two or three paragraphs or sentences were value statements. They were, how we valued our employees, how we wanted to treat our employees, the things that we hoped for in that area. And quite honestly, how we gave back to the community. That's part of the value of the businesses. I realized, a long time ago now, that there was an obligation that we had as a business to make sure we were serving our community and serving our employees as well. So, in your vivid vision, Vince, is there a piece that's a value statement?
Vince: Yeah, we outlined some areas of our values and how we want to give back to the community, things we want to do to impact the world, we also do have four key values, we call them our immutable values, which are we keep it simple, we are efficient, we respect, and we advocate. So, those are kind of inner intermingled with our mission or vision, but then ended in addition, it allows us to get a little more specific about the types of charities we give to and things like that, how we want to make an impact on the world.
38:22 Change is Okay When You Adapt to What's Going On
Ken: So, I think these things we're talking about, and we've talked about here. I think they're all part of excellent mission statements. And just to kind of summarize up this particular piece. It's really easy, it seems to me, for people who are starting out who, who may be struggling after they've opened up or have had some realizations of, it's not the market or so on. It's hard to get to these. Tell me before I conclude, why is this important?
Vince: Yeah. So, I think it's important. We've talked about in all of our experience here, these things can change, as long as they're not drifting changes, okay, when you adapt to what's going on. So, when you're starting off, it's so important to have the foundation so you know, where you're headed and wherein what direction you're going in. So having some mission, some vision written down, execute on that, having your team on the same page, your customers on the same page, or whoever you engage with, it's just critical to really stay in the right direction and not drift off and be distracted by things. And it's okay to adapt that over time.
39:04 Make Sure Your Mission-Vision Foundation is Solid
Scott: For me, it becomes… as a leader, it's important for me to really use it as a way to keep me reined in. As somebody who likes to look at opportunities, we talked about gut instinct earlier. One of the things that I have always kind of held true to is that I always say yes, first, and then I figure out the path and maybe the path is not with me or with us, but I always say yes first to any opportunity, because I don't want to rule things out at face value. And I think the mission vision and the purpose or the or the standards of the values that we have, really give me the guiding lights in order for me to lead the organization in the right way and I think it's important. I think every organization in business should be innovative and look for new ideas and new opportunities. But the only way that you can safely explore innovation in what you're doing is to make sure that your ground level, your foundation of that mission and vision is solid. And that you do, as Vince said, you return back to that, when you explore these opportunities, otherwise, you're gonna hit down some pretty gnarly pads. I've had some pretty good individuals that I've followed and been friends with over the years that have really done a great job with this. And working in organizations where the purpose was behind developing cause-driven leaders, and really talking about the emotion behind what we do, the why behind what we do. And that really started to connect leaders, me and then others, to the feeling of the mission and vision and the values versus the service we were providing, it was that Simon Sinek why we do, what we do.
42:11 Having a Personal Vision Statement
Ken: A couple of things, then first, first, we're, we're going to move on when we meet again, and talk again about something called a SWOT diagram. And a SWOT diagram is a piece of kind of knowing what your business is, and where you might want to go, what you're doing right, what you're doing wrong, which can do which can't do. And the acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. And there's a lot to talk about in that. So, we're going to talk next time about strengths and weaknesses. And I think that oftentimes, again, people don't think about those things like they should, and how that affects their business. And so, I'm going to assume that you all understand that we all understand what a SWOT diagram is, I would encourage individuals who got encountered them to maybe look those up and see what they might be because they can be invaluable. And then the last thing I want to leave us with is a question here for you all to answer. I realized, I don't know at what point in my life, that I also needed a personal vision-mission statement. That I needed to take a look at myself. And I needed to have the same things that we've been talking about for our business in the way that I lead my family. As the same as I lead my business that it was probably more important. And so, either you have personal mission statements?
Vince: I actually do. So, my personal mission is very simple, that is to live life and give life. But to really elaborate on that, it's to make sure that I am focusing on decisions that allow me to enjoy the things around me, and through our work enable other people to do the same.
Scott: So, one that I don't know that I've consciously adopted as mine. But I've always said this, I think in presentations and in training, and I think it's just kind of become mine is to be the loudest voice and the least important person in the room. And that's kind of my… I always want to make sure that whoever I'm serving, whether I'm serving a team or organization or another mission, or even in this conversation, I'm doing it with the highest level of passion that I can. But at the end of the day, really embracing that truth, who I truly am is that servant's heart, and serving in that servant's heart. And leading in that way is when it's showtime when it's time for us to really do what we're doing. I want to be able to say I'm honestly the least important person in the room. You know, I provided the resources and the voice, but others get the glory work that they're doing. And so that's really something that I've adopted. And you guys know, recently it just a personal transformation I've been going through one that I've really kind of held on to and telling my story of late is, do your job. You know, my job is a dad, I have a job to do. And I've got a job to be around for many years from now. And I know what my basic role as a father is, but there are so many more things to come. So, I've been saying that a lot more lately, to just do your job, you know, do the job that you've been designed to do. So, Vince, being a new father will appreciate that for many, many years to come.
Ken: As the senior member of this group, I can tell you there are more many things to come. And I would guess that while you've talked in very general terms, I could do the same thing. I tended to be a little more intentional in specific areas as well. Breaking it down into, my relationship with my wife, but also with my kids and the boys, and how I, how I relate to the community, and how those this value statement related to that. So, I guess the point that I want to talk about, and I think I've mentioned it before in these sessions, but we talk about business, but in many senses, the same things that we should be doing we do our business we should be doing personally. And I think a lot of people lose sight of that, a lot of things that you're doing in your nonprofit, we should be doing personally. And so, it's not all that hard to understand. But if you do better, personally, you do better in your business. And so not to turn this around, but not knowing what your business is, knowing what your values are, and seeing the future is important. And it's just not something you can ignore if you want to grow, and you want to have a business as profitable. So, I would just kind of leave it at that. But anything else to add, Scott?
Scott: No, I would agree. I think that hopefully those who know me know that in my professional world, I'm living my personal life the exact same way. I hope my values spring through, and we have a family mission, we have a family vision, and just like I do in my organizations as well. So, this is a great message and I always love and I'm sure you guys would say the same. But if others out there are listening to this in the business world, or even privately or saying, “I'm not quite sure where to start on this.”, I'd be more than happy to provide any guidance. Whether it's for a large group of volunteers or whether it's an individual, I'd be more than happy to support that.
Ken: And I think that this comes without saying for me. Vince, anything else to add.
Vince: No. You know, once we're done, I'll close this out. But I think this is a great session. Ken, thank you again for leading it.
Ken: Welcome! Well, we'll be back in a week or so with starting SWOT diagrams.
Vince: Absolutely! And for those of you who are watching, make sure you find us online, you can search for the Small Business Squad, and you'll find us on Facebook, YouTube, or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Well, thank you guys, let's do this again next week.
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