The mission comes first

You have a set of tasks to complete, a to-do list that just seems to get longer and longer. And there’s a horde of people waiting to speak to you.

The phone never stops ringing.

The email keeps pinging, demanding your attention.

There’s yet another meeting, just around the corner.

If you’re not careful, you’ll get sucked into day-to-day activities.

Add a few big projects to the list – getting ready for that exhibition, developing that new product line, working on a new marketing campaign – and, before you know it, you’ll be wondering where the years have gone!

It’s easy to lose sight of the overall objective of the business.

It’s easy to spend time looking at all the mundane things that cross your desk. It’s even easier to get caught up with projects that are exciting and demanding.

If this is what’s happening to you, what’s happening to the people who work for you and with you? Their situation will be even worse.

I’ve often used the simple question ‘Why?’ when considering different activities in a business. Why are we having this meeting? Why are you doing that? Why are we going to this exhibition?

Controversially, I’ve also been known to ask, ‘Why does this job exist?’

Mostly, the answers can be summarised as, ‘We’ve always done it that way’.

If you can make time to ask the questions and dig through the initial, rather facile answers, you then need to make time to absorb the real answer.

You may find that individuals have forgotten the real answer. They’ve forgotten the real mission of the company.

It’s worth taking a step back to remind everyone why the business exists: What’s our purpose? What’s our mission?  Then make sure every activity is directed towards the fulfilment of that mission.

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