2014. március 3., hétfő

I do Holacracy 4. - defining the mission

What is a mission statement? For me the mission is the answer to the questions below.
- How do we contribute to the company, to the super-circle, to the product, or how do we add value to the customer?
- Why are we existing, why are we here?

I use these questions to clarify the mission statement, when there is already a sentence. But before asking a question I like to map the words the group has in mind or has a positive relation with.

For the start I ask all group members to write down all the words they recall thinking about our group. You may need to help the group if they tend to neglect verbs. Verbs are extremely important for a mission statement. This results in a long list.

Next is to clear the long list:
- Erase duplicates.
- Choose between synonims, if there is no difference in meaning.
- Erase most of the adjectives (a credible mission statement does not states anything about the quality of the contribution before the customer experiences it).

Then prioritize the clear list in 3 rounds
- Make all members underline or mark as many word as they find important about the group.
- Make them mark again those that they find extremely important.
- Get them to mark those that express the core existence, operation or values of the group.

Now it's time to write down the first sentences. This is a private assignment. If some members feel it impossible to write something down, let them know that it is completely ok to write a very simple sentence or just a series of words. Its not literature, its finding a sentence (or some words) that expresses both a conscious and an emotional relation between all of the members and the group purpose.

Next is to pivot the sentences. Read the sentences aloud and feel free to relfect on them (Facilitate the rounds strictly, make them fast). Focus on making positive reflectios. If you feel like making negative reflections only state what you miss from the sentence and make suggestions. At the end of the round choose someone’s sentence to go on with in the next rounds. You may choose more, but keep in mind the goal is to converge the versions into one final.

Make some more rounds with highlighting the positive elements of what you heard and suggesting alterations. In case of negative critics always make everybody suggest, never let anybody demand altertions. If one can’t make suggestions she may ask for help.

If the group is open enough and communication is finetuned already the chance is high that you have a good sentence in some short rounds even if you skip the part with mapping the words. 

But be patient and note these:
- There are nations with relatively passive language and thought patterns (compared to English) where a purpose/mission statement is not part of the usual best practices. There you may need the word mapping parts.
- We people are thinking and expressing ourselves very differently. And I mean VERY differently.
- People find motivation in different values, different actions, and different phases of the very same process.
- Some people like to set goals, some like to solve problems, some like to work in opportunities. These people think and speak differently about the same issue
- Usually people are at different level of emotional and social maturity and that may poison the communication of some issues.
- People have different ambitions. Some aspire to be captains, some to be strong players, some to be middle captains.

These are completely ok. This is the human framework you have to work in to forge a common purpose.

One more thing. And this may be valuable for you as well.

After finalizing the mission statement. Don’t discard all the working papers. Have a 5-10 minutes session to collect all the strong words you came up with but left out of the final version. These may be part of a valuable principle, a value list or a policy. Thinking over these words you may have better grasp on the strategic next steps.

Hope you found it useful!


By the way... Do you do it differently? What is your way?