MISSION STATEMENTS REALLY DO WORK. DON'T believe me? Here's proof: Two years ago business consulting firm Kinetic Wisdom examined
the U.S. companies with the highest five-year revenue growth. What did they find? Forty-nine of the top 50 companies use a
mission statement to guide their operations. In "Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It" in the May issue, I emphasized
the importance of mission statements, their definition and purpose, and the process for creating your own.
Unfortunately, too many people see the conclusion of the creation process as the conclusion of the whole project. One out
of three employees say their company isn't living up to its values, according to Discovery Surveys. Sound familiar? Here's
our mission, everyone. In living color. On the wall. Nice frame. If you leave your mission statement frozen behind glass,
that energy is going to dissipate and your mission's relevance to daily practice will evaporate right along with it.
You put too much work into creating the perfect statement to just leave it hanging there. Admire it for a moment, but then
drag it off the wall and put it to work. You used a plan to create it, and you'll need a plan for using it, too. Returning
to a "concept, process, and tools" approach will help get you going again. Let's get started.
Make your mission ubiquitous.
We've all had the experience of walking into a business and quickly getting an impression of how things work and what to expect.
We say we get "a sense" of the place because we can almost feel its mission with our physical senses. This may sound mysterious,
but it isn't. We're talking about atmosphere: a multitude of small things that leave you with an impression of the organization's
identity. To create your practice's atmosphere, you need a message that's more than persuasive—it must also be pervasive.
To keep your mission alive, you need to apply it everywhere. It'll never grow any legs if you save it for meetings or drag
it out only when you face a serious problem. Tie it into the activities that make up business as usual. Use a "viral" approach.
If you want your mission in the very air of your practice, you need to spread it around by referring to it often and in a
variety of subtle ways. Which brings us to the process.
Show others how they're involved.
Even if your practice objectives are clear, employees might not understand how their work fits in. Training can make an enormous
difference here because the best educational programs don't just teach skills—they address the ideas and reasoning behind
the skills and how they apply to the larger objective. When team members understand how one person's job fits into another's
and into the practice as a whole, they feel included and informed, something studies cite over and over as a prime factor
in job satisfaction.
Show others how you're involved.
Practice owners, managers, and associate doctors, you in particular set the tone for a shared mission statement. There's no
shortage of experts reminding you to lead by example and to "walk the talk." Unfortunately, your good example may not be enough
to keep others similarly inspired. If team members view your dedication as a personality trait rather than a reflection of
your practice values, they'll undoubtedly admire you but employees probably won't feel a strong ripple effect of motivation.