Simon Sinek, in his book, Start With Why, makes it clear that leaders must ask the correct questions when guiding their teams. Sinek believes that this question is "Why--" to determine why the team exists, and their purpose.
This purpose can be summed up in a mission statement. From a larger company level, or a specific team level, all teams need to have a mission statement to guide their work. Though Sinek makes a compelling argument to "Start with Why," I feel that there are actually three questions we must ask when we are creating the mission statement for our team: 1) Who, 2) What, and 3) Why.
The "who" is important because it describes who is responsible for carrying out the mission of the company or the team. It is helpful to list this out from a broad (company) perspective, but also at a specific team level, so that all can adopt the mission statement as part of company or team culture.
The "what" specifies what the company or team will be doing on a day to day basis. This can describe from a broader sense what it is the company does, or from a team level the work the team accomplishes.
The "why" is the third question teams should ask when creating the mission statement. The "why" describes the purpose of the organization, and why the team exists. This is the goal of the organization or team.
By answering these three questions, we can create mission statements that unifies our team to actions that accomplish our larger goals.
For more strategies on creating mission statements, see our eWorkbook: How to Create A Mission Statement.
Sinek, Simon. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. New York: Portfolio / Penguin, 2011.
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