Olympians set the best Mission Statements – but why?
We look into the how and why the importance of a Mission Statement using an Olympian Athlete as a model, a mission statement is the focal point of what a company, team or person is aiming to achieve.
Putting it into context using the greatest show on Earth (The Olympic Games) as the example and delving into specific disciplines (swimmers and rowers) set themselves a goal to break their personal bests. Their mission statement is set to “Sub x secs/mins”
To make this happen a team of people assess what needs to be done to meet their goals. They understand the requirements and make these reality in order to achieve the end goal……a medal.
- The reaction time at the gun
- The power the athletes need to exert for the initial drive
- The stroke rate that must be maintained
- The speed they must travel at through different sectors of the race.
And the list goes on to achieve their very best at the right time and moment.
The athlete then needs to get themselves into the conditioning required to achieve this assessment.
- How they work on their fast twitch muscle
- How they build up their strength and stamina
- How they perfect their discipline
This goal is timeboxed to a four year period with the aim of peaking at the appropriate time so as to achieve the goal at the next games.
All of the above relates in the same way to organisations who set themselves a mission
Mission statements could be:
- Grow assets by x%.
- Improve efficiency within the organisation to reduce operating costs and increase change costs.
- And of late with the way the world has changed since the start of the pandemic: Digitally transform the business to meet client’s demands and expectations.
- Reduce carbon their footprint to become and sustainable organisation
What happens next
Once the mission statement has been set there are a number of key steps that need to take place:
First, communication: all employees need to be made aware and must be onboard. The key to success is buy in. If you do not have the buy in you will have failed at the first hurdle.
Second, walking the organisation through the process of the necessary but painful change. This is the toughest part of the process as actually making change is the only way to change and this is inevitably difficult and encounters resistance.
What does a mission statement achieve?
If done correctly: It unifies the efforts to meet the long-term goal. It influences the way employees act and perform. It sets out an identity for the organisation.
It requires everyone in the company to be working at their best and in harmony to achieve the goal.
Some of the key outcomes are:
- Sets the organisation’s identity to the outside world.
- Sets the culture and behaviours within the organisation
- Builds a community and team spirit
- Provides the ability to innovate, be entrepreneurial and empowers people.
- Retain the very best talent
Having all of this in place has the effect of Attracting the right talent and most important Improving company performance.
But like in sport, mission statements need to be realistic and it may take a number of evolutions of the statement before the goals is reached. It will only also succeed with a level of talent and a lot of hard work.