“Jerry Maguire” was a fictional sports agent and apparently a good one. Jerry had everything he wanted; the girl, the career, the fame. Unfortunately Jerry Maguire also aquired an ill that befalls many a successful sales person, he got a conscience. He looked around and saw the industry how it was and knew that the way they treated athletes wasn’t right. He had an altruistic plan to fix the sports agent industry. Then he created a mission statement.
That mission statement got him fired. Around the time that the movie Jerry Maguire came out, mission statements were all the rage in business. Everyone had to have one and they were laden with corporate buzz terms like synergy, mission –critical and integration just to name a few.
It got so ridiculous that the creators for the cartoon strip Dilbert actually had a mission statement generator that created these buzzword heavy statements in a way that made it embarrassing for the companies who had a mission statement like this.
For those that are unfamiliar and for context, here are my definitions of mission, vision and values:
Vision– Answers the question, where are you going?
Mission- Answers the question, why do I exist?
Core Values- Concepts that provide direction for decision making and behavior within your organization.
When people like the Dilbert creators started making fun of mission statements then you started to see the backlash against using these concepts in business and you started hearing things like: “Why defining mission, vision and values are a waste of time.” Or “Why mission, vision and values doesn’t work.”
I disagree with statements about mission, vision and values being a waste of time as well as that they are useless to an organization. What makes mission, visions and values an asset or a liability to an organization is the intention behind it. What I mean by that is are you just throwing it out there because you feel you need to or did you put some serious thought behind it?
When business owners are intentional about their mission, vision and value creation process it creates inspiration because it is from the heart and in many cases is a team effort. Some of the most admired companies today are doing this. Companies like Apple and Zappos for instance. Having leaders that can communicate mission, vision and values is essential for them to maintain relevance.
Just like anything else mission, vision and values are only valuable if you use them in your organization. To illustrate my point, take a car for instance. A car has no value if it just sits in your driveway. The value is in driving it.
Jerry Maguire turned his initial failure into an inspired success. Take a look at your companies’ road map. Where are you going? Why are you going there? How do you want to get there? Answer these questions for a truly focused and inspired business.
Do you have a mission, vision and values success story?