Why it requires a deep emotional connection to create Mission and Vision – Colin Browne

Colin BrowneThe saddest parts of many companies are the words they have chosen for their most important rallying cries …

In the run up to D-Day, Allied forces were asked to absorb a lot of information that would make a difference in their success. They learned new weapons tactics and were briefed about the scale and sophistication of the enemy’s defences. When they got on the boats to cross the English Channel, they knew what they had to do, and why it was important for them to perform at the limits of their courage and capabilities.

Put another way, they were fed a mission and a vision that drew a clear picture for them of how great things would be if they won, and how awful if they lost.

When you’re invading Europe, the complexities of the tactical and strategic goals may be vast, but the mission and vision are comparatively easy. One might say:

To become the preferred invaders of Europe, delivering operational excellence in every corner of the beachhead, by setting the highest standards in gunmanship, bravery, intelligent use of force and conformance to the Geneva Convention, thereby creating value for our officers, politicians and members of the general public

Or indeed, one might not. It depends on how soulless the committee that wrote the damn thing was.

I sincerely believe in these things. I believe in determining your Values (really though, your actual Values, not the sanitised version you think will be generally palatable), I believe in determining your Mission (what do we actually, really do here?) and I believe in writing out a Vision (why are we doing it? What’s the thing we’re trying to change, that drives us so hard?).

I also wholeheartedly believe that we will get this wrong forever as long as those charged with writing them lack the humanness and intuitiveness to be able to emotionally connect with the spirit, and yes … the soul of the company.

Consider the difference between this mouthful …

McDonald’s brand mission is to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink. Our worldwide operations are aligned around a global strategy called the Plan to Win, which center on an exceptional customer experience – People, Products, Place, Price and Promotion. We are committed to continuously improving our operations and enhancing our customers’ experience.

… and this near perfect work of sheer love …

Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses … We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket.

The difference? I’ll stick my neck out and say the first was created by a corporate team with a eye on appeasing its stakeholders; the other was written by a person who deeply cares about the company.

How rare that is?

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