A company's mission is its heart and soul. For a company to be genuinely mission-driven, it must not only have a mission but must also drive with it. This means walking the talk and ensuring that the mission is at the core of everything the company does - from brand to products to staff meetings.
For leadership, having a clear mission provides plenty of advantages when it comes to high-level direction and company culture. But why should it matter to you -- the job seeker looking for new opportunities -- that an employer is mission-driven?
The mission of a mission-driven company is not just used in roadmap decisions; it’s used to great effect during the hiring process. Often, in the hiring process, we don’t get the opportunity to meet the people we will actually end up working with most of the day. The mission serves as a great proxy for knowing the type of people already there.
For example, Patagonia’s mission statement is: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. They don’t tie themselves to a product, they tie themselves to an ideal. You can expect by coming to Patagonia you would work with people whose mindsets are focused around environmental sustainability and connecting with nature.
TED has another favorite: Spread ideas. It’s so simple, but it provides a clear image of the type of people it attracts as consumers and employees. These are curious and social people who care about learning and sharing information. Does that sound like you?
Find an environment you feel comfortable with, welcomed by, and excited to be around!
Related, but distinct, from working with like minded people is the fact that mission-driven teams are more engaged and more resilient to setbacks. Imagine that you are having a really bad day after a bad setback. Now imagine that you go to your teammate to find help, consolation, or distraction and find them disengaged, disinterested, or, even worse, disgruntled. No bueno.
In a mission-driven setting, it’s much more likely that morale in the company and in your team stays high overall. What this means is that when you are having your bad day or dealing with a setback, you will have a support structure around you to help bring you through it. When surrounded by positivity and resilience, you will find yourself becoming more positive and resilient.
Clear missions provide a northstar for decision making. This is true at every level of the organization and provides some specific value to you, the producer. A mission can give you guidance and confidence in your own day-to-day decision making.
Can’t do everything and not sure which feature is most important? Requirements sparse or outright stupid and not sure what to do? Ask yourself what best supports the mission and you will either be correct or your decision will at least be defensible.
Using the mission focuses decisions on an objective source of truth. This helps avoid decision making devolving into he wants/she wants arguments.
This one is unique, in that it is an emergent value from the benefits listed above. Because mission-driven companies are places that have strong cultures, resilient teams, and focused decision-making capabilities, they are much more likely to find success. On the lower bound, this means that your job will still be there tomorrow. On the high bound, all those options might actually be worth the figures you’ve been dreaming about one day.
More than anything, a mission that you connect with gives you a sense of purpose beyond what one might get from a “plain old” day job. And isn’t this what we all hope for? To love what you do and why you do it?!
Ask yourself, what mission will inspire you?
Remain patient in your job search and make sure you find a company that aligns with who you are and what you want, not just in money but in purpose. Find a company with a mission you believe in and can get excited about.
Make sure the company doesn’t just have it, but that they live it and drive with it. If you can find this you will find culture, resiliency, clarity, success, and fulfillment.