Below is a list of examples of effective Mission Statements and Vision Statements that I believe are clear.
As a reminder, an effective mission statement (or vision statement) should be:
See How To Write A Vision/Mission Statement, an article I wrote, for more on how to write one.
The largest high-quality content producer for digital media – locally, regionally, nationally,
and globally (as of 2011).
“To be the world’s most customer-centric company.”
“A computer in the hands of everyday people.” (this was from their early days)
If you love business and are, or are considering, starting a business, the book E-Myth by Michael Gerber (sketched below) is a must-read.
Gerber is a master of teaching business who has taught thousands of business leaders.
Here are some key takeaways from The E-Myth Revisited:
1) The Entrepreneur
Blind Spot: Most people are problems that get in the way of the entrepreneur.
2) The Manager
The Manager chases after the Entrepreneur to clean up their mess…for without the Entrepreneur, there would be no mess!
3) The Technician
1) Infancy Stage
In Infancy, you (the founder) ARE the business. You’re often working 10+ hours a day and absolutely nailing your business. You’re likely mostly being the Technician described above.
How do you know if you’re in Infancy?
Answer: If you were removed from the business, the business would disappear.
So, you don’t want to be an Infant very long.
Infancy ends when you decide that your business can not continue to be run where it’s nearly 100% dependent on you (many owners quit in their Infancy stage).
If you don’t quit your biz at this point, you move on to the Adolescence stage.
Adolescence begins when you decide to get some help.
This is often precipitated by a crisis in the Infancy stage. 😉
Gerber cautions that a major mistake many entrepreneurs make during Adolescence is that when they make their first hire they Manage by Abdication (handing off an assignment and running away) rather than Manage by Delegation.
And Gerber points out that when you Manage by Abdication, the person/people you hired will begin dropping some balls…you may start to notice that:
The reason: because you didn’t teach your new hire well enough!
You weren’t being a good “Manager.”
And then the Technician in you jumps back into action…micro-managing every part of the business process to fix the product, the marketing, the customer service.
Before you know it, you are back doing all the work again…being the “Technician.”
At this point, a business usually faces 3 scenarios…they:
But there is hope, Gerber points out, and that’s the highest level of a business performance.
So how do you become a “Mature” business? Simple…you start out that way!
Gerber points out that IBM’s Tom Watson attributed the following to IBM’s success:
“I had a clear picture of what the company would look like when it was finally done”
“I then asked myself how a company which looked like that would have to act.”
“…we began to act that way from the beginning.”
“In other words, I realized that for IBM to become a great company it would have to act like a great company long before it ever became one.”
These moves by an “Entrepreneur” at the beginning of a business are thus quite key.
Gerber then recommends a series of tips/approaches to how an Entrepreneur can design a business from the ground up as one that will become mature and successful. They include:
There was a great interview of Jack Ma on Charlie Rose — Ma is the Founder and Chairman of the leading Chinese Internet company Alibaba.
Ma is clearly an evolved thinker. Here are some highlights:
“I’ve seen people make a fortune catching shrimps (small customers) but never make a fortune catching sharks and whales (big customers).”
“To be a great company, think about what social problem you can solve.”
“Anything happening in the USA will happen in China (cloud computing, mobile).”
“We should surpass Microsoft and Walmart (in size)”
“I would regret if we can’t be bigger than Walmart”…because Taobao and Alibaba goes after both businesses and consumers (while Walmart sold only to consumers).
“I’ve never thought the money I have belongs to me…it belongs to society.”
“You have a couple of million you’re a rich guy” (I think he’s saying that you don’t need any more than that for yourself)
“You have $20 to 30 million it’s capital” (presumably for a business)
“You have $100 million, it’s a social responsibility.” (i.e. you should give it back)
He certainly speaks like a true leader.
I love to read books on leadership.
The latest one I finished (which I borrowed from the awesome San Francisco Library) was The Score Takes Care of Itself by Steve Jamison & Craig Walsh…about the leadership style of football coach Bill Walsh.
Why should you listen to Coach Walsh: well, among other things, he invented a new offense now widely used in football and turned the worst team in the league (the San Francisco 49ers) into Super Bowl champs (in just two years).
There were four leadership techniques that Walsh shared that I found most useful:
“What assets do we have right now that we’re not taking advantage of?”
E.g: Walsh took inventory of his Bengals’ struggling offense which was undersized (meaning running the ball was a big challenge) and not capable of passing for long yardage (quarterback Virgil Carter could not throw very far) (though he could throw decently for short yardage).
Walsh then took stock of what he had to work with in terms of field real estate and had an uh-huh realization that they had 53.5 yards of width on the field (about half the distance of the length of the field) and the availability of 5 potential receivers.
Thus the West Coast Offense was born: the idea of throwing more often, to more receivers, for short yardage.
“If you’re growing a garden, you need to pull out the weeds, but flowers will die if all you do is pick weeds. They need sunshine and water. People are the same.
They need criticism, but they also require positive substantive language and information and true support to truly blossom.”
“I believe in you” (or equivalent words of your own).
Walsh writes that even Joe Montana (who already had a bunch of confidence) benefited from his coach telling him he believed in him.
As a student of leadership myself, I strongly agree: providing confidence to your team (or friend or spouse) is perhaps the most powerful lever you can pull to help them optimize their performance.
And Walsh adds: And nobody will ever come back to you later and say “thank you” for expecting too little of them.
Note: If you want to read more about developing leadership, check out my other leadership articles.
I read a great interview with Ray Kurzweil in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Kurzweil is a visionary (reading machines for the blind, text to speech technology, music synthesizers, a bunch of artificial intelligence stuff) and he had a few nuggets of valuable insights/data points in the interview.
I encourage you to read the entire article, but here were my favorites:
…”technologies will be another billion times more powerful per dollar in 25 years and 100,000 times smaller in size.”
“We’ll reach a tipping point in about 15 years where we will be adding more than a year each year to your remaining life expectancy.”
“There has been 18 percent annual growth in every form of information technology for the past half century as measured in constant dollars, despite the fact that you can get twice as much of it each year for the same cost.”
“…there are 5 billion cell phones for 6 billion people…”
“Information-based technologies are affordable only by the rich at a point in time where they don’t work very well. By the time they are perfected, they are almost free.”
“The number of bits we are transmitting on the Internet is doubling every year.”
My John Wooden Series is receiving a bunch of traffic these days after his recent death.
I always look at what keywords people search on to make sure I’m doing my best to provide good resources on them.
Towards that end, here are the top 10 John Wooden searche phrases (in quotes below) that I’m receiving, along with relevant links/answers:
As you know, John Wooden is a hero of mine — if there’s anything else you’d like to know about him, please comment below.
[This is part of a John Wooden Leadership Series I’m doing celebrating his 100th year of life]
The following is excerpted from John Wooden’s amazing book The Pyramid of Success.
He begins with this overall quote:
“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
And here are Wooden’s 15 “Building Blocks” of the Pyramid of Success along with quotes on each:
1) Industriousness — “There is no substitute for hard work. Worthwhile results come from hard work and careful planning.”
2) Enthusiasm — “Enthusiasm brushes off upon those with whom you come in contact. You must truly enjoy what you are doing.”
3) Friendship — “Friendship comes from mutual esteem, respect and devotion. Like marriage, it must not be taken for granted but requires a joint effort.”
4) Cooperation — “Cooperate with all levels of your co-workers. Listen if you want to be heard. Be interested in finding the best way, not in having your way.”
5) Loyalty — “Loyalty to yourself and to all those depending upon you. Keep your self-respect.”
6) Self-Control — “Practice self-discipline and keep emotions under control. Good judgment and common sense are essential.”
7) Alertness — “Be observing constantly. Stay open-minded. Be eager to learn and improve.”
8) Initiative — “Cultivate the ability to make decisions and think alone. Do not be afraid of failure, but learn from it.”
9) Intentness — “Set a realistic goal. Concentrate on its achievement by resisting all temptations and being determined and persistent.”
10) Condition — “Mental-Moral-Physical. Rest, exercise and diet must be considered. Moderation must be practiced. Dissipation must be eliminated.”
11) Skill — “A knowledge of and the ability to properly and quickly execute the fundamentals. Be prepared and cover every little detail.”
12) Team Spirit — “A genuine consideration for others. An eagerness to sacrifice personal interests of glory for the welfare of all.”
13) Poise — “Just being yourself. Being at ease in any situation. Never fighting yourself.”
14) Confidence — “Respect without fear. May come from being prepared and keeping all things in proper perspective.”
15) Competitive Greatness — “Be at your best when your best is needed. Enjoyment of a difficult challenge. “
Virtual team management is not easy.
It sounds great for everyone to wake up in their pajamas and crank out work all day…but the fact is that managing virtual teams has a whole other host of challenges.
But I’ve been through it…so enjoy these first-hand tips to maximize your effective virtual teamwork.
I recommend that meet with your virtual team daily (every other day at the least).
See my article entitled How The Ritz Carlton & I Run Our Meetings: The Daily Huddle for my approach to such huddles.
These huddles can be via conference call or video-conferencing if you can afford that.
The main reasons for frequent huddles (which can be 15 minutes or less) are:
For starters, for effective virtual team management, you’re still going to have to meet in person once in awhile.
If you are all in one country, I recommend you meet in person every other month — if that is not doable, I recommend you meet quarterly.
These in-person meetings are vital for such things as:
One of the biggest risks in virtual teamwork is that you and your team fall off the same page.
To help prevent that, I recommend you use such tools as:
If you have multiple virtual teams (or your company is 100% virtual like ours), then I recommend that you hold a “Team Call” once or twice a month.
Topics for the team call can include:
Virtual team communication can be quite challenging…afterall, you can’t typically see another person’s expression or body language when you’re in a virtual office environment.
My general rule of thumb is that the more sensitive the topic to discuss, the higher the bandwidth communication you should use.
Here are examples of discussion topics and the communication method I recommend you consider:
Leading virtual teams can be fun and rewarding…you just have to realize that it’s going to require some different approaches than working with your team in-person.
You’ll be mastering virtual teams before you know it!
If you liked this article, you may want to check out my article on Virtual Team’s Pros & Cons.