Saturday, January 2, 2010

What's Your Mission?

One of my favorite ways to start Saturday mornings is with a good cup of coffee and Peggy Noonan’s column in the Wall Street Journal. Her column today, Look Ahead with Stoicism and Optimism was particularly interesting because it mostly dealt with the notion of “mission.” Here’s a bit from the column:

“Maybe the most worrying trend the past 10 years can be found in this phrase: "They forgot the mission." So many great American institutions—institutions that every day help hold us together—acted as if they had forgotten their mission, forgotten what they were about, what their role and purpose was, what they existed to do. You, as you read, can probably think of an institution that has forgotten its reason for being. Maybe it's the one you're part of.”

As entrepreneurs, one of the surest ways to trip ourselves up is to forget about our mission. Now with the state of our country being what it is, it’s easy to start focusing on the economy, the ups and downs of the stock market, or what your house is worth…rather than that of the mission of your business. When you started your venture, you were probably obsessed with something…maybe it was the unique way you were solving a problem, maybe it was your technology or perhaps it was your extraordinary customer service. But as we moved through the last couple of years, it was easy to lose sight of that and start focusing on the other stuff…the stuff that dominates the news coverage but which isn’t helping you to deliver on your original mission.

So take a look at Ms. Noonan’s column and think about her parting thoughts and how it might relate to your business:

“If you work in a great institution: Do you remember the mission? Do you remember why you went to work there, what you meant to do, what the institution meant to you when you viewed it from the outside, years ago, and hoped to become part of it?”

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