Impact is the mark your business leaves on the world.
It’s the difference you make in the lives of your stakeholders: your family, your employees, your vendors, your community.
You define your Impact through your purpose, vision, and mission.
Purpose, vision, and mission are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably and can be hard to define.
At the Alliance, each of these has a distinct purpose. The differences are subtle, but each piece plays a critical role.
Taken together, they define the Impact your business has.
Purpose: why your business exists
Your purpose statement articulates why your business exists.
I think these two inspirational business founders do a great job of explaining why a business needs a purpose.
“Just as people cannot live without eating, so a business cannot live without profits. But most people don’t live to eat, and neither must businesses live just to make profits.”
John Mackey, Co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods
“Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.”
Tony Hsieh, former visionary CEO of Zappos
Purpose acts as your north star – guiding every decision you make and action you take as a company.
Let’s use the Alliance as an example:
We are dedicated to reversing a troubling trend in statistics: the average lifespan of a family business has been declining over the past 5 decades. Our purpose is to reverse this trend.
Vision: the dream
Your vision is your big idea or big dream.
It states what you aspire to BE. What are the results and goals you want to reach in the future?
It could be because of my age and upbringing, but when I think about vision, I think about John F. Kennedy’s inspiring vision to land a man on the moon before the decade is out and return him safely to Earth.
That was very aspirational at the time. It was big. He got the whole country…in fact, he got the whole world rallied around that big dream.
Your vision statement helps you define what that success really is.
The big challenge I often have with my CEO clients is getting them to dream big enough.
Your vision needs to be big enough to let others dream inside of it. This what enables alignment and buy-in with your team and culture.
Our vision is to help as many business owners as possible get to their 5th generation and beyond. Right now, less than 1% get there; there are only 5,500 businesses in the world that are over 100 years old. We would love to see that number rise to 3%
Mission: how you’re going to fulfill your vision
Your mission statement tells you HOW you’re going to fulfill your purpose and vision.
A good mission clearly articulates what will be a priority – and, maybe more importantly, what will NOT be a priority.
It brings focus to your organization and can be helpful in eliminating distractions.
Our mission at the Alliance includes:
- Working with clients directly to help them succeed
- Speaking to groups of business owners to share our knowledge – both in person at events and online
- Publishing helpful information on this blog, our newsletter, and in our social media channels
- Continuing to learn and grow our skills so that we can be a good resource for family businesses
Want alignment? Involve your team collaboratively
If you want unity amongst your stakeholders and alignment in your team, you need to develop your purpose, vision, and mission collaboratively.
When we assist businesses with this work, we begin with the leadership team and eventually involve the entire staff.
You can’t create alignment by simply delivering the final statements. Alignment comes from the collaborative process you take to develop those statements.
Making the decisions about the exact language you use is what bonds the team and allows others to get behind it.
Purpose, mission, and vision are very inspirational – not only for your staff – but for your customers, vendors, and other stakeholders. They define the Impact of your business.
Impact is one of the 9 keys to building a family business that generates wealth, enables freedom, and creates a legacy. To get the rest, watch our free online training here: the Prosperity Plan
Watch Now: Business Impact
Want your team rowing in the same direction? The very first step toward achieving alignment is to define your purpose, vision, and mission. Learn:
- The differences between purpose, vision, and mission
- How defining your company Impact leads to wealth, legacy, and prosperity
- How to develop these to ensure enthusiastic adoption
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