10 Lessons from Vanilla Ice About Creating Mission Statements

Yo, VIPs, let’s kick it for a minute...in order to talk a little bit about creating mission statements, visions, and company goals.

If you are as big a fan of cheesy, 90s rap as I am, then you probably have Vanilla Ice’s classic, “Ice, Ice Baby” practically memorized.

But did you know that inside this gem hides all the advice you need when creating mission statements and visions, as well as company goals?

Now, since we here at AchieveIt like to think that when you have a problem, we’ll solve it, I’d like for you to check out this post while AchieveIt resolves it… with these ten lessons on creating mission statements, vision statements, and company goals.

"Alright, stop..."

Lesson 1: Actually set aside time for creating mission statements, visions, and company goals and tasks.

Let me start by saying that creating mission statements and visions, along with corporate goals, does not need to take months. However, it does need to be done. If you have not taken the time to do so, then make the time.

This could even be done in a day-long retreat, with some pre-retreat preparation.

"...collaborate and listen."

Lesson 2: Communication is key.

When it comes to creating mission statements and visions, communication is important. There are a lot of reasons for this.

  • Ideas come best through group brainstorming.
  • When the purpose and thought processes behind your decisions are communicated to your employees, it makes it easier for them to feel like they are part of them. Which in turn makes it more likely they will do their part to the best of their ability.
  • If something does go wrong with the plan, then feedback from the ground employees might be the first place executives learn of it.

So once you stop and set aside time for creating mission statements, visions, and goals, make sure you also collaborate and listen with the rest of your team.

"Something grabs a hold of me tightly / Flow like a harpoon daily and nightly / Will it ever stop? Yo, I don't know / Turn off the lights and I'll glow."

Lesson 3: Make sure you always have a mission and a vision.

While the specifics might change, the need for creating mission statements and visions, as well as goals for how you will meet those missions and visions, does not. Once you are done creating mission statements and visions, your company should be working towards these purposes daily and nightly.

Periodically examine these statements and make sure you are on track. If the answer to any of the following questions is no, then think about redrafting:

  • Is it short?
  • Does everyone know it?
  • Can you train around it?
  • Does it define you?
  • Will it take you in the right direction?
  • Does it inspire passion?
  • Does it say how you want to be remembered?
  • Have you revisited it in the last three years?

It is important that you answer yes to all of these questions because when you are asked if your company will ever be stopped, you want to be able to answer no.

You should always be working towards something, and that something should be the force that makes you ‘glow.’

strategic planning and mission statements

"Deadly, when I play a dope melody / Anything less than the best is a felony."

Lesson 4: You should be creating mission statements, visions, and goals that are big.

You are only likely to accomplish what you try to accomplish. That is why you need to dream big, even while remaining realistic.

Hopefully, the purpose of your business isn’t to be okay. You should want to be the best because anything less is a felony. In fact, if you have a vision statement that has already been met, you have no vision. When you are not going anywhere, you are more likely to fail. So dream big, and then work to get there.

In an article for Business News Daily, Paula Fernandes suggests focusing on a place five to ten years in the future. What do you want to have accomplished by then? Your vision should come from there.

Creating mission statements and visions that are dope will make your company deadly…to all of your competitors.

"Love it or leave it, you better gain way/ You better hit bull's eye, the kid don't play."

Lesson 5: Make mission statements and visions that are on point.

Creating a mission statement that makes others envious is great. Summoning a vision that makes other visions look silly sounds great. You can even make goals that make professional hockey players look like amateurs.

But if none of them go to the root of what your company does and is intended to achieve, then it was all a waste of time.

In an article for Inc., Yoram Solomon suggests a technique for doing this:

When you think you have a good mission statement, write the exact opposite. If it sounds stupid backward, it is meaningless forwards.

When you are creating mission statements and goals, make sure you keep them on point. Be like the kid: don’t play. Focus on hitting the bull’s eye of what you want to be and how you want to become it.

"Quick to the point, to the point no faking / Cooking MCs like a pound of bacon."

Lesson 6: Make your statements short and sweet.

If you really want to cook your competitors like a pound of bacon (i.e., leave them in the dust), then you should be creating mission statements and visions that are quick to the point.

You, and your employees, should be able to easily memorize and recite these. If you have more than a handful, or if they are paragraphs long, then you need to do a lot of cutting and editing.  A good mission statement should be around eight to ten words long. Your vision should likewise be on the shorter side.

As Shaun Spearman pointed out in an article for Forbes a few years ago, around 70% of employees can’t tell you what their company’s vision is.

If they do not know what your vision is, how can they help you realize it?

But not only should you be creating mission statements and visions that are short and sweet, so too should the goals you set to get there.

Focus on the goals that are the most important, and forget the rest. Edit down the length of your statements until they are easy to say.

Only create a handful of goals. Harvard Business School suggests that overwhelming employees with goals can make it hard for them to know which ones are the most important.

All of this not only helps you focus, but it helps you keep the important things in your mind’s eye. When you have your eye on the true prize, you are more likely to get it.

"I'm on a roll, and it's time to go solo."

Lesson 7: Assign specific tasks and responsibilities to specific individuals.

While creating mission statements, visions, goals, and tasks should be a team effort, once you have gotten on a roll and created them, it is time for people to go solo.

As part of your strategic plan, it is important to task-specific responsibilities to individuals so that they know what is expected of them and can better see their purpose in your vision.

Think of it this way:

If Tom, Dick, and Harry are all assigned the goal of increasing your hospital’s customer satisfaction ratings by creating a method to clean up the way customer complaints are handled, then what is to stop Tom from thinking Dick will take charge, Dick to think Harry will, and Harry to think Tom will.

Things often fall by the wayside when multiple people are assigned to it. That is why it is always a smart idea to hold one specific person accountable for various tasks’ success.

"The girlies on standby, waving just to say, "Hi!" / Did you stop? No, I just drove by / Kept on pursuing to the next stop / I busted a left, and I'm heading to the next block."

Lesson 8: When it comes to mission statements and visions, don’t settle for just anything that could work.

While creating mission statements and visions should not take you years to create, and it shouldn’t be a lifelong process to set company goals, at the same time, you shouldn’t settle.

Picture this: you are at your retreat trying to figure out just who you are as a business. Someone says something fairly decent. So you choose it and move on.

In the “Ice, Ice Baby” analogy, this means that you stopped at the first girl who waved and said hi. While they might be great girls, it could be that the girl that is right for you is on the next block. So instead of taking the first pick, make sure you keep pursuing to the next stop.

Throughout the creation process, collect the good ideas that the team has come up with. Then, once you have come up with several choices, discuss which one is the most fitting for your company.

At AchieveIt, we sometimes recommend using a Monte Carlo-styled selection process to facilitate this.

"Take heed, ‘cause I’m a lyrical poet" / Miami's on the scene just in case you didn't know it / My town that created all the bass sound / Enough to shake and kick holes in the ground."

Lesson 9: Remember who you are.

finding a company's purpose

Just like Vanilla Ice did not let fame go to his head and make him forget his Miami roots, when you are creating mission statements and visions, you need to keep in mind who you are and where you came from.

Your mission and vision statements, as well as your goals, should be a reflection of the company.

A good mission statement does not say what you do, it says who you are. Take MD Anderson Cancer Center: their mission is “to make cancer history.” That is why they exist, who they are, and what their purpose is. The statement does not say how they want to accomplish this mission.

Honoring that past and presence in your company will only make you stronger. After all, Miami helped Vanilla Ice create all that bass sound, and your roots will be what helps you create whatever it is that your business is intended to do.

"Feasible rhymes that you can vision and feel/"
Conducted and formed, this is a hell of a concept/
We make it hype and you want to step with this."

Lesson 10: Make your mission statements, visions, and goals things that your customers and employees can see, envision, and support.

Your mission statement says why you exist. Your vision statements say where you want to go. Your goals tell people how you will get there. But in order to make all of these feasible, you need your employees, your customers, and your clients to be able to envision and feel them.

When they can see who you are and get behind it, then they will support it and want to be part of it. Workers who do things because they are told to, and not because they understand the purpose behind it, are often not the most productive workers.

In fact, in an article for Business News Daily, Nicole Fallon Taylor suggests asking employees and customers what they already see as your strengths and weaknesses and then using this to help craft your mission statement.

When you are creating mission statements, make sure that not only can your employees' vision and feel your mission and vision but that they understand how the goals you have set for them relate to that mission. Make them want to step with your hype, and then show them how they can do it.

Bonus Tip: If you feel “Under Pressure” to get these done, just find inspiration from the Queens of your industry.

I really hope that you already know about the next point I am going to make because I’d hate to ruin your belief that Vanilla Ice is a complete creative, musical genius, but…
There is a chance, just a chance, that Ice might have illegally sampled the hook he tells his DJ to revolve from the song “Under Pressure” by Queen.

This brings me to my next point:

Do not steal! I am not advising you to steal!

However, I am advising you to sample.

If you are having trouble creating mission statements or visions or you aren’t positive how to come up with company goals, look for inspiration in the big stars of your industry.

What are they saying? You might find that having example missions statements helps you come up with your own.

Now, You Can Go Rush the Speaker that Booms (i.e., Execute)

So that’s all there really is to it. Easy right? Creating mission statements, visions and goals shouldn’t be so hard that it ends up …”killing your brain like a poisonous mushroom.

But once you have all of this created, you need to take the steps necessary to execute the plans that will help you achieve these missions.

You do that by weaving your vision into your strategic plan. Your strategic plan should be integral to your day-to-day activities. Think of it like a weight loss program. If you decide to lose weight, but you do not take the steps to accomplish this goal (eat right and exercise) then you will not see results. And if you do not track your progress (step on a scale, measure yourself, etc.) then you will not know how you are doing.

creating mission statements pyramid

The same is true of your business strategy. You have to take the steps to set your mission statements, visions, and goals, then you need to take the steps that will help you accomplish those goals, and finally, you have to measure your progress. If you do make your strategic plan that important, plus you add you are creating mission statements and visions to include in your plan, you will find that it is a lot easier to reach the places you want to go.

For help executing your mission-fueled strategic plan, check out the AchieveIt Execution Management Platform.

Now, yo, man, I need to get out of here. Word to your mother!

About AchieveIt

AchieveIt is the platform that large organizations use to get their biggest, most important initiatives out of the boardroom and into reality. Too many great ideas never quite make it across the finish line, because there’s no real way to keep everyone on course and keep everything on track. What does it take to actually guide these initiatives all the way through to completion? You’ve got to:

  1. Get everything in view – so you can see what’s happening with every initiative, at every level, from the enterprise to the individual, in real time.
  2. Get everyone engaged – with an easy-to-use platform that connects your organization from the executive leadership to the project teams, keeping everyone accountable and on the same page.
  3. Get every possible advantage – not only because you have the premier platform in this space, but because you can draw on the experience and best practices of our execution experts.

That’s why everyone from global corporations, to regional healthcare systems, to federal agencies have turned to AchieveIt for their Integrated Plan Management. Let's actually do this.

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