How can leaders go about building a mission-driven company and culture? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
I think there are two big factors to keep in mind when building a mission-driven company:
- First, make sure the mission is in the driver's seat, rather than a passenger. Think deeply about the problem: who it impacts, how it impacts them, and what solutions would move the needle. Make sure you truly believe that the problem is worth solving, and work to ensure that the mission aspect of your business is a core component to the value proposition. If you have a for-profit startup, there will likely be pressure to ditch the mission at various points. This pressure can come from investors, partners or even from within your organization. So make sure the mission is inextricably linked to your value proposition. The tighter the linkage the better. In an ideal world, your startup's value proposition is rendered valueless without the mission, effectively de-risking the concern the mission will be sucked out over time.
- Second, live your values. Sounds simple, but it's really hard sometimes. You'll find that the real test isn't whether stick to your values when things are easy, but whether you do it when things are hard. It starts with creating values that are specific to your company, that speak to your core business and core mission, and knowing those values inside and out. I've seen a lot of companies out there that develop values just for the sake of checking the box, that often leads to meaningless abstractions that could be taken from the internet and applied to any generic company. Do the work to create a clearly articulated mission or purpose. Distill it down. Make it short. Make it clear. Make sure everyone knows it. Put it on the wall. Finally, operationalize your mission and values. Regularly ask yourself and your team whether you're living up to them. Use them as core criteria in hiring and performance reviews. And celebrate your culture champions. They're the beating heart of your organization.
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