No, I’m not getting married (at least not today), so for anyone that thought they were getting an invitation – Sorry! Let’s talk about “engagement” as it relates to business. We hear that word a lot because it’s a key factor in business success. What is business engagement? One definition offered by Liak Meng Chong is ‘creating strong bonds/relationships that foster internal and external organizational growth towards the company’s vision and mission.’ That’s revealing because it doesn’t focus simply on customer acquisition or sales of products/services. Engagement involves everything and everyone inside (i.e. employees, management, shareholders) and outside (customers, community, civic leaders, etc.) an organization.
What factors govern business engagement? According to the definition above, successful business engagement involves:
- An organization’s vision and mission
- Creating strong bonds/relationships internally
- Creating strong bonds/relationships externally
Over the next week, we’ll examine each of those factors individually. Today we start with the first:
An Organizations Vision and Mission.
Though related, vision and mission are radically different. Drew McLellan describes the differences in this way: “Your mission is what you do best every single day, and your vision is what the future will be like because you deliver on that mission so brilliantly every day.” Diffen.com says “a mission statement describes what the company wants now, [and] the vision statement describes what the company wants to be in the future.” Diffen also offers a handy chart describing the differences between the two.
(Check out the Back-Office Bulletin Mission Statement here)
Why is it so important for you to understand what vision and mission statements are (and what they are not)? According to Bruce Johnson, defining your vision and mission are two of the most important and strategic decisions a company can ever make. He says, “If you’d like to make better strategic decisions about your company, your business, or your organization that will literally propel it toward the future and can help you take more market share, then you’re going to want to…figure out how to differentiate between a mission statement and a vision statement.” (See his full discussion on the differences between the two in the video below)
The more compelling your vision and mission, the more likely your employees are to adopt them as their own. If you’re a solopreneur, this is even more important. After all, if you don’t buy the vision and mission, how will you ever communicate it to someone else? When the people within the organization are fully engaged with the organization’s vision and mission, then it will influence their daily actions and thinking. This, in turn, your potential and existing customers and clients notice, thus allowing them to engage more fully (more on this last part in an upcoming post).
Interestingly, David Byrd encourages individuals to have both a mission statement and a vision statement. The mission statement is brief, and essentially describes who you are, not so much what you do. However, with your vision statement, he encourages you to dream. You’re encouraged to imagine the perfect day in your life five years from now, after you’ve accomplished all the important milestones in your life. Then, he has you write that statement out, but do it in the present tense as if you’ve already accomplished those things. The exercise encourages you to think in terms of not just what you’re doing, but how it feels to have accomplished those things. Talk about an effective way of engaging yourself in your future! That engagement drives your actions today, helping you to make that future vision a reality.
Take time today and consider your organization’s vision and mission. If you’re planning a new venture, then your vision statement will be the foundation upon which you build your mission statement. If you’re already established and considering these things for the first time, then your mission will likely influence your vision. Either way, it’s important to have them in place. A simple (though maybe not easy) way to get started according to Drew McLellan is to describe each in 10 words or less. Give it a shot! It’s time well spent.
The contest is over, and we have winners! Congratulations! Check out our Facebook page on Monday for a list of the five people who won in our Business Plan Executive Summary giveaway! However, we think everyone who takes time to read things that help them grow their business or follow their dreams are winners. So give yourself a pat on the back for being here!