Can you recite your vision or mission statements? Have you ever asked your staff what your business’s purpose was? What was the vision and mission of the place they spend a large portion of their week being a part of? Does it matter?
I recently asked my team what our core purpose was. It is three words with the 4th being a byproduct of the 1st three. Empower, Connect and Care. We managed with some prompting to get these words out but not the deeper, richer statement. When you have a vision for the future, and a destination you want to go, then you need to be clear on what you are doing and where you are going. This provides focus and prevents you from doing things that are counterproductive to your goal or vision. Creating statements that provide this clarity are important in creating a standard and guide for your team as you move the organization towards a specific goal.
Whether it is to be the leader in a specific field or to dominate the market with your product, you need to be clear on the direction you are going. This is for your clarity, for your employees and staff, and your customers or patients.
What, How, Why
What are we doing?
How are we doing it?
Why are we doing it?
The answers to these questions can be summed up by three things. Your core objective or vision statement answers the ‘what’. Your core purpose or mission statement answers the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. Finally, your core values protect the culture and provide the framework for accomplishing your vision and mission.
Here are Cornerstone’s answers to the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’.
What do we do?
Creating HOPE in a caring and warm setting, CornerStone Physical Therapy, a leader for excellence, provides a unique, specialized, manual therapy approach.
How and why are we doing it?
CornerStone Physical Therapy through persistent improvement; we empower through education, we connect with people, we provide Christ-centered care, to positively impact our world.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
- Peter Drucker
Our five core values support and protect the vision and mission creating an intentional culture. We frame these core values as questions. Here are a few examples. “What is my impact?” This is related to making Cornerstone better and having a culture of continuous improvement. “Who am I empowering?” Teaching and replacing ourselves builds the team up and provides a redundancy of skills if someone is away from their job.
How do you get your team to buy into the organization’s purpose?
share it, make it clear, repeat it often
“I believe we were all made with two fundamental desires: (1) purpose and (2) relationship…We’re hardwired to want to do something of value.”
- Horst Schulze, Cofounder, past President and COO of Ritz Carlton Hotels
Once a week the different teams at Cornerstone meet and review a core value or purpose and share stories of success. This keeps us focused on what we have come in to work each day to accomplish.
Create a Purpose Statement for you or your business
Develop a purpose statement, or ‘one-liner,’ that explains what you do. Create intrigue and a desire for your audience to know more but also easily share.
Lets say you are at a party and someone asks you what you do. You reply "I'm an accountant". Now I am thinking to myself, “sounds boring, staring at a computer screen and going over numbers”. Instead of the obvious this accountant could have said “I help people get the most money on their tax return”. I now want to know more. Am I missing out on some new tax law that could get me more on my income tax return? How do you do that? I am intrigued.
You may say that your business is too complex to simplify what you do into one statement or a few sentences. It may be necessary to separate different products or services that you provide to accomplish this. Being able to simplify your service will help your patients or customers connect with you.
Here is an example for a product at Cornerstone.
With our COR Strength Project we believe strongly that back tension and chronic pain, as well as lower lumbar degeneration, are a product of a weak core. The solution to this problem is Targeted Core TrainingTM with diagnostic ultrasound. If you can SEE your core then you can TRAIN your core. This allows our clients to get back to living their lives without limitations or pain. Our purpose statement or ‘one-liner’ that clarifies what we do and how is this…
Solving the problem of persistent back pain
with ultrasound guided core training.
This is a clear statement of what problem we are trying to solve and how we are solving it. The intrigue is related to using ultrasound to train the core. This is unique. Tell me more!
Notice that we did not include our title, Physical Therapy? I have found that few people know what we do or what this means. Using it would add confusion not clarity.
Another example is Impact Vision Therapy. “Impacting lives by improving vision.” There is enough mystery to make me want to know more. How are they improving vision? What type of vision problems are there and how can they help me? I also love how it is part of their name and easy to remember.
Creating a one-liner will also help your customers tell your story and refer the right clients to your business.
One last thing, create these statements with your team or key members. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you get. You will also have greater buy-in when your team is part of the process.
For more on clarifying your story as a business a great resource is Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller. We also have a PDF of the process of framing your business through the lens of a story. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of this exercise.