August 28, 2011

Mission and Purpose

I love this picture of Hong Anh dancing with our "Dreams" poster at the annual party.

Everyone needs a purpose.  Every company needs a mission.

The mission is not “making money.”  The purpose is not “delivering value to shareholders.”

Those things are important, sure.  But as a mission or purpose they are cold and lifeless.  They lack any ability to inspire the human heart.

If you truly want to achieve greatness, if you truly want to make a difference in this world, if you truly want to be excited about going to your job each day, your work must be ABOUT something.  Something you believe in.  Something you care about.

At VietnamWorks and Navigos Search, our mission is to “Help people achieve Dreams.”

That’s what we believe in.  That’s what animates us and makes us go.  And that’s what we’re focused on.  If we do it well, profit and shareholder value will follow naturally.

I love meeting people who found their next career step through VietnamWorks or Navigos Search.  It makes me feel good to know that we played a small part in helping them to do, be and achieve more in their lives.  And it inspires me to do better.

If you are a leader, it’s your job to define the mission and purpose of your team and your business.  Talk about it constantly.  Make sure everyone understands how your organization adds value in the world and how their particular work contributes to that value.

But remember — you must walk the talk.  If you don’t truly believe in your mission no one else will either.  You can’t fake it.

The video below contains an outstanding example of Southwest Airlines’ definition and communication of its mission and purpose — “Freedom to Fly.”  It is absolutely brilliant and inspiring.

No wonder Southwest employees are legendary for their loyalty and productivity, and no wonder that Southwest has the highest market capitalization in the industry by far.  They believe passionately in their mission to give people Freedom to Fly.  And that makes all the difference.

View a transcript of this video by clicking here.