Focus on the why

I’ve had this problem a lot while strategic planning with charities or cool down talks after basketball games, or with group projects in school. “What are we doing here?” isn’t the best question you can ask yourself as you look forward to how you’ll become truly successful. A better start is “Why?” “Why are we doing what we’re doing?”

I see way too many vision statements and mission statements that are too similar to each other, both focusing on the how, or the why. Your organizational statements are literally the guiding beacon to anyone inside or out of your organization to know what you’re about and why you exist, but many don’t effectively cover the second half.

Your vision must focus on the why. Why are you here? Why are you and everyone around you giving their time to this cause? Make it so lofty that in an absolutely ideal world, everything were exactly as your charity wants it to be, you would then, and only then, have fulfilled your vision statement.

To put it another way, if your vision were fulfilled, there would no longer be any need for your organization to exist. It’s as simple as that.



Loosely adapted from one of Bernie Warren’s lectures in Busn 6060: Strategic MIS.

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