Discovering your Core Focus is an essential element of creating your company Vision. In my last article about becoming a FAST leader, the first part of the FAST acronym is FOCUS.
Core Focus has been called many things in the history of business strategy. Many people call it a Vision Statement. Stephen Covey calls it Voice. Jim Collins calls it Hedgehog concept.
My least favorite is the Mission Statement. These are usually eighteen sentence paragraphs that proclaim to the world all the things you think your customers want you to be – “We’re the best company with the best people and the best products and the best service and the best value and the best quality and the best delivery and the best . . . “
Usually, it is 90% aspirational and does nothing to define what the company stands for. Customers gloss past it, and employees shake their heads when they read it. Patrick Lencioni calls this “Blather” and said this about Mission Statements in his book, The Advantage:
“Though I can’t be sure, I suspect that at some point about thirty years ago a cleverly sadistic and antibusiness consultant decided that the best way to really screw up companies was to convince them that what they needed was a convoluted, jargony, and all-encompassing declaration of intent. The more times those declarations used phrases like ‘world class,’ ‘shareholder value,’ and ‘adding value,’ the better. And if companies would actually print those declarations and hang them in their lobbies and break rooms for public viewing, well, that would be a real coup.”
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Lencioni on his take on Mission Statement. However, it is essential for a company to discover the reason they exist. Their purpose, cause or passion. The sweet spot for the organization.
There is a reason every business owner took that leap of faith and accepted the risk to start their company. The reason they put in those 12-hour days and will do anything to make their company successful. Moreover, it is rarely, if ever only about money. Most Core Focus falls into one of four areas:
· Solving problems
· Helping others
· Building a great company
· Competition and winning
Shining Example – Simple
Starbucks states their purpose and vision in one simple sentence:
Every day, we go to work hoping to do two things: share great coffee with our friends and help make the world a little better.
The purpose and passion are clear, simple, and direct. No one should be confused about what Starbucks stands for. Customers, employees, shareholders, and everyone else can read this and “get it.”
Once you clearly define this core focus, it becomes a compass, a guiding principle that you can use for all your strategic decisions. If your next choice does not support or enhance such a focus, you should seriously question the direction it may take you.
Note: Portions of this article were contributed by Jeff Bain of TeamTraction LLC, an EOS Implementer