The first lesson of 2023.
I take it for granted that I can create a three part narrative that can transform business communications. I’m not trying to brag as this knowledge has come at a price (in the form of hard experience gained in the 25 years since I began my journey in design and communication).
Yet, so many people don’t have this three part narrative or they ignore its power. I am talking about your MVV – your Mission, Vision and Values.
Here is the thing… I see the same mistakes repeated over and over making the misunderstandings palpable.
It manifests itself like this. Either a business lacks a mission, or if it does have a mission it lacks a vision! Others have a mission and a vision but no true understanding of values.
Now, imagine trying to create a value proposition (a statement of what’s in it for the potential client) with MVV missing and ultimately it’s a guess at best!
The thing is, in recent times, an older generation (who have been known to be a bit critical of the ‘fluffy stuff’ of marketing) have found themselves hitting a brick wall when trying to exit their business.
The recent stats are startling. 80% of businesses on the market won’t sell. Why? Because their isn’t anything to buy into! Apart from an ops manual, existing talent, and maybe a building, the essence of why the company exists has gotten lost along route. (No real MVV)
This isn’t to say that the founder doesn’t care, BUT it is clear when their focus has been on profitability with a view to exiting the business, one eye on a future promise of freedom.
Businesses who are lacking in purpose should not resort to creating a fast solution, ie. a quick logo update and maybe a new website, it has to go deeper. There is no an excuse to ‘purpose wash’.
In fact many of the companies of yesteryear were able to create smooth transitions across owners and generations by having 100 year visions.
Patagonia’s Yvon Choulnard said that the faster a company grows the faster it dies. Sustainability is about more than just going green! Patagonia’s hundred year mission leads with ‘Helping the ambitious make their mark without sacrificing their lives.’ It brings a whole new perspective to building companies.
So, whether you want to scale and exit fast or build slowly and affect generations, the opportunity we all have is to gain some understanding on what a Mission, Vision and Values should look like.
Simon Sinek is often over quoted by business leaders and he talks about your ‘why’! He nailed it. ‘Why’ encapsulates what a mission is and it goes beyond making money. It is about purpose. Businesses that have any type of legacy have a clear sense of it. For me, its deeper than a mind set for mission, it’s a heart set for purpose. Why in the heart? Because the heart is where conviction lives. In times like these you need a heart full of conviction to overcome the prevailing circumstances.
Once I read, ‘Your why should make you cry’. That hit deep. Purposeful businesses drill into the why and learn to express enough of the story to make others cry. It creates in others a sense of wanting to belong to something bigger than themselves and turns moments into movements.
Your vision is the end game. What you would be if there were zero restrictions. Essentially, vision casting is about painting a picture of the future. They call it the law of attraction, where you create a vision and keep it ever before you. In one of the Old Testament books of the Bible, (Habbakuk 2:2) it says,
“Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”
Habakkuk 2:2-3 NKJV
That principle speaks about making things clear and while we don’t have stone tablets we do have digital ones where we can make our wallpaper an image of our desired outcomes.
Vision removes indecision. It shows everyone what you are charging towards! Vision gives people hope, inspires and turns doubters into believers.
Too many companies are selling the past rather than what the future holds. Real traction is created when you can show people where you want to be and those audacious to share it, make great strides towards it!
Your vision HAS to be bigger than you and involve many people. You also need to realise that other people who have a vision of their own may dovetail with yours. For me, vision shouldn’t be dominated by one person who leads at the expense of others, the focus should be on collaborating and completing rather than competing.
A vision for good dwells within us but few are brave enough to dig that deep. It’s our choice whether to be too distracted to discover it or uncover it and discover fulfilment.
Everyone knows about them, yet few learn to live by them. In a world that has redefined what absolute truth can look like, it is hard to stay true to any framework. Having values is a great place to start. Values are behaviours that secure legacy when they are lived out. Living according to your values is difficult to achieve, but it’s for the greater good. Compromising them doesn’t hurt in the short term but ultimately it will hinder us in the long term.
Values make anyone valuable and any organisation stronger. A story told with strong core values at heart becomes timeless and inspires countless people to live a courageous life.
Think of the qualities you admire most in the people you know and very quickly you find the values you hold. Keep them and make your decisions by them.
If Mission is your why and Vision is the end goal then Values are the bridge between the two. The strength of that bridge is determined by how fast you hold onto your values in the storms of life. Values are challenged in the bad times and the good. They reveal our character and determine the company we keep.
When you believe in the importance of having a clear mission and vision, you commit to the foundation stones of many a successful business, positioned for true success. Having a strong sense of purpose and guiding principles can help provide direction and focus, as well as inspire and motivate employees and stakeholders. It’s also important to remember that effective leadership involves effective communication, collaboration, and decision-making skills, as well as the ability to adapt and navigate challenges intrinsically linked to our values.
Want to know how to establish a powerful MVV and establish legacy? Then why not book a discovery call with us and we’ll help you take a step back to see the true power of building on purpose, for purpose!