How often do you think business leaders turn to the wall where the company’s mission and vision are posted, so they can read it and make sure their decision aligns with it?
That’s right. Rarely.
First, nobody has time for that. When you are in the midst of closing a deal or preparing for a high-stake move, there’s no time to shuffle through your notes or search your computer to find that nice slide that the marketing department put together with the mission statement on it.
A statement is also way too small to encapsulate a million ways to translate it into your daily actions.
And so, when a mission statement doesn’t help you make decisions, you come to see it as hollow and ignore it.
Instead, a narrative takes over your mind. If that narrative is weak, short-sighted, negative, misaligned with the strategy, self-centered or confusing, then it’s not helpful either. Worse, it’s dangerous because although you can ignore the statement on the plaque, a narrative occupies your mind and travels with you everywhere and all the time. It’s there to influence how you think, what you say, and what you do.
If that narrative has been intentionally built, through co-creation and reflection with your team, with the future in mind, then you’re much better off.
Because a mission statement lives on paper, it exists hypothetically.
On the other hand, a narrative lives in our minds and exists actively.
Invest in building a strategic narrative first.