Lets get something straight. I am not a hunter, nor have I ever hunted before (unless you consider “Great Deals” as a worthy target). But I have friends that hunt wild game, and they have shared stories about the temptation to pursue new tracks of other game when their initial target was elusive for long periods of time. In the business world, as well as our own personal lives, this is known as “chasing rabbit trails”, and it’s one of the most time as well as money wasting activity. The best way that any business or organization can deal with this time wasting effectively, is to create a clear path and direction for everyone to follow, also known as Vision and Mission Statements. Individuals can create these statements for themselves as well, providing clarification for how to achieve their long-term goals.
A Mission Statement is the first and (in my opinion) the most important statement to come up with. It defines who you are and why you exist. It creates a sense of unity and provides direction – like a navigational star. It helps people gain a sense of contributing to something larger and more meaningful through everyday work. It helps connect individual and organization values, energizing people and gaining the commitment necessary to achieve organizational goals. It guides people at all levels of the organization so that in any given activity they know how they can best contribute. It aligns organization members and volunteers in a powerful way to enhance coordination-in-action to achieve results. The Mission Statement will have no effect however,if it is not promoted and at the forefront of everything you do, no matter how eloquent the wording is. Show me an organization that does not have everyone pulling in the same direction, and I’ll show you a group that is unaware of what their Mission Statement is! Don’t believe me? Do a quick survey. Ask 5 people what your Mission Statement is, and what they are doing to help achieve that goal. Every different answer is another rabbit trail someone is following! A Mission Statement is great for providing the foundation upon which goals and tactic are built upon, but it is incomplete without an inspiring Vision Statement.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he”, is what Proverbs 29:18 tells us. Having a vision of Christ’s return one day helps us all keep our eyes on the prize, and having a clear vision of what your organization will one day look like or achieve can be motivational and inspiring to your employees and volunteers as well. Vision statements create an image that goes beyond the here and now; maybe even beyond your lifetime. It harnesses our desire to make a better future and create something that is going to last. Many organizations have thrived under an inspiring vision from their founders. Terry Fox’s vision of one day beating cancer has raised over $550 million in donations for cancer research. While the outcome has not been achieved yet, the vision is still the driving force for the foundation all these years later. Every person connected with this cause has a very clear understanding of what they are striving for. Do your employees and volunteers have the same clarity about your organization’s vision?
If you have both of these statements clearly defined and implemented, what have you done to keep them on the forefront of everyone’s mind? Like wedding vows and commitments that spouses need to be reminded of in order to keep on track in their marriages, organizations need to continually review their Mission and Vision Statements so that they thrive and flourish.
Alex Golin is the President of The Non-Profit Purchasing Group Inc. We are committed to lowering the recurring costs of small businesses and non-profit organizations by providing our members with discounted rates on their most commonly purchased goods and services. For more information on how your organization can save money, call toll-free 1-888-359-6509 or visit www.nppg.ca or http://www.nonprofitpurchasinggroup.org