What is a Mission Statement?

Once you know your "why" or purpose for your team, you can know think about - what are you going to accomplish this quarter, this year, this period.  This is where you might consider developing a mission statement.  So what is a mission statement?  Is is a rallying cry that defines collectively what it is you are going to accomplish. Another way of looking at this is, what is the goal or objective?

Mission Using SMART Goals

In general people respond very well to meaningful challenges that stretch their capabilities and cause growth. In addition, a collective goal can create a sense of urgency, excitement and build commitment.

A key part of this exercise is to identify a mission or goal that is specific and measurable. (You may have heard of the term SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.)

The reason SMART goals can be so effective is that they are "real" and everyone who is in the "game" will have a clear measure of progress and success.

Imagine watching any sporting activity where there were no goals or points. Okay - some kids play games that way but in professional sports, the "game" is all about the SMART goal and that is what makes it exciting!  You know if you are ahead of the other team and on track to win or...well you know the reverse is also true.

Are goals in hockey, soccer and football SMART?  Well are they specific?  I would say yes - you want to have more points than the opposing team.  Are the measurable?  Absolutely - that is what the scoreboard is all about.  Are they achievable? I suppose this depends on the team playing but I doubt anyone would suggest that to win a hockey game, you need 10 goals!  Realistic suggests that either team may win the game so winning is realistic.  And timely - well most games are timed so it is imperative to have more points than the opposing team before the end of the game.

Now imagine if all employees were as enthused about their work as they are about their favorite sports team winning!

Now don't worry about the mission or goal encompassing every aspect or element of your team’s work. That would be nice but it is not always realistic.

However, if you can pick something that you believe is indicative of the overall success of your team then – great! Often in organizations, sale targets, revenue or profit are useful measures. Other options include safety parameters, growth targets or market share.

The Balanced Scorecard

In project teams, a balanced scorecard of various elements creates an overall target for people to aim for. Often these will include – client satisfaction, budget, schedule, safety and quality.  It is a more comprehensive approach because it ensures that employees don't pursue productivity at the expense of employee safety for instance.  The balance in balanced scorecard means being successful at four or five key areas simultaneously - a much more challenging proposition than just achieving one SMART goal. 

As a leader, you can facilitate the creation of a meaningful target or goal for your group which will then allow you to base decisions and actions on whether or not such things contribute to the achievement of the goal.

A key benefit of this approach is that decisions are taken out of the "personal" and linked to the organizational need - a great way of building credibility with your team and organization!

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