Your Chance To Design Your Work Life Balance
Please read Your Work-Life Balance Part 1 first.
Because you are the owner of the business, you have both the power and the right to design a business that works so well it gives you the life you want.
It’s a chance to live purposefully and act intentionally.
You will see this as a repeating theme throughout this website.
Decide what you want and then plan how you can achieve it.
Looking into the future gives you hope about the possibilities of what can be and lifts you out of the problems of what is.
If you don’t clarify your future, you let life drift along, with both other people and chance setting your priorities and controlling your future options.
The is one of the main lessons I got from the classic small business book The E-Myth Revisited.
Your Long Term Perspective For Success
In his book “The Unheavenly City”, Dr Edward Banfield looked at the problems of urban conurbations in America and the self reinforcing nature of the problems.
One of the things examined in detail was why some people become financially independent and manage to escape a bad situation when the majority are trapped.
Banfield discovered that attitude was much more important than concrete factors.
The people who are successful are those who take the future into consideration in every decision they make and who are prepared to sacrifice short term pleasures to achieve long term goals.
You can see the same pattern in attitudes to debts and savings. The poor spend today and think they’ll start paying back tomorrow. Those who have become wealthy concentrated on saving each week as they prepared for the future.
Let’s start looking at the issue of these big life defining and business defining goals.
Your Vision and Mission
I know these two words can have bad connotations for some.
They represent some of the worst abuses of big company business-speak.
Too often vision and mission are reduced to the bland, the generic and meaningless.
I remember hearing the story of one Business School Professor (but I suspect many repeated it).
He announced to his class that he was going to read out one of their employer’s vision and mission statements and he wanted people to put their hand in the air if they thought it was their company.
When the professor had finished reading, half the class had their hands in the air.
They were bland, general and could apply to many different businesses.
You probably know what I mean.
“We are committed to delighting our customers.”
A worthy sentiment but what does it mean?
If used properly vision and mission can really mean something.
Just because a tool is used often badly, doesn’t make it a bad tool. Just dangerous in the wrong hands.
We need to know how to do it right.
For me a vision is a clear view of the future. You can close your eyes and imagine it as a visual image.
It is an emotional experience which captures the imagination and inspires you to action.
Your mission is your purpose.
It’s what you want to achieve and in particular I believe a mission should explain what the business will do for its customers and the business owners.
Don’t Get Hung Up On Words
I want you to think about how these ideas apply to your business – and there will be some exercises later – but I don’t want you to get hung up on the words.
During Pillar 1, I explained that some measures are snapshots in time – the balances – and other measures refer to flows – how things are changing.
Your vision is a balance… it is a snapshot you can see in your mind at a moment in time and it’s something to work towards.
Your mission is a flow… it is what you continually aim to do each day and week.
Your vision should be fire up the emotions… it’s what you want… what you really, really want.
Your mission is the business logic… it’s why you do what you do.
If you search on the Internet for more ideas on vision and mission you will find a lot of claptrap and many different definitions.
Ultimately it’s what works for you. It’s how you express your future.
It needs to be a direction which gives you the passion and commitment to build a great business.
When you know where you are going, you can start to live intentionally by acting purposefully.
And when you create a compelling vision and mission, you gain the power to communication your destination to your employees and the other people you need to help you and, provided it’s a worthwhile future, inspire them as well.
Safari Holiday Example
To show you the difference between a vision and a mission, I thought I would move from thinking of it in terms of business to my personal life.
I love going to Africa on safari.
We did it for the first time in 2001 and we’ve been back another five times since.
My vision would be:
“We’re sitting in a open topped Land Cruiser. Although it’s early in the morning… about 6:30… it’s already sunny and warm. We’re hushed because our spotter found leopard tracks a few minutes ago and we think they are fresh… very, very fresh.
This beautiful and most illusive of creatures suddenly appears and starts walking towards us. It’s not bothered by us and walks to within ten yards before athletically leaping into a tree, which it climbs easily and lies down on a thick bough, looking down on us briefly before closing its eyes to catnap.”
Just as a bit of background, leopards are very hard to see in the wild and just about everyone who goes on safari wants to get a high quality sighting.
My mission or purpose for the holiday would be
“To go on a safari holiday to Botswana next May. We will see many different animals and birds including the Famous Big 5 and at least two mammal species we’ve never seen before. We’ll come back with some great stories and photos.”
As you can see, there is a huge difference to the way I’m describing my vision and mission for this holiday.
Examples Of Vision From Politics
OK let’s have a look at few more famous visions from the world of politics and see how words can be used to stir the emotions.
Three men with a clear vision, each leading to success.
Business Examples of Vision
I have found a few examples of vision statements for businesses.
The first inspired Henry Ford
“I’m going to democratize the automobile, when I’m through, everybody will be able to afford one, and about everyone will have one”
In the early 20th century, Ford’s vision was very ambitious but we know how it turned out.
It’s the same story with the next.
One entrepreneur saw the world differently from others and created something extraordinary.
“A computer on every desk and in every home, all running Microsoft software.” Said Bill Gates
Microsoft was a marvel throughout the 1980s and 1990s … even if the software is bloated and unreliable. For a long time, it has held a 90% market share for operating systems which is incredible.
The next company has also been remarkably successful
“Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
And keep setting standards for ecommerce websites.
The final one is from a CEO I talk about in Pillar 6 when we look at customer service and retention.
“The preferred airline of the business traveler” Jan Carlzon Scandinavian Airline System
This doesn’t have the visionary quality of Henry Ford or Bill Gates but it is short, simple and easy for staff to understand and very clearly specifies the targeted customers.
Business Examples Of Mission
Three examples of mission
You can see that these are much more closely linked to purpose and don’t have the snapshot effect of saying that’s been done.
“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
“eBay’s mission is to provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.”
It’s not that far away from Amazon’s vision.
Finally the World Health Organisation say their mission is “The attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”
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