Mockingbird Mission

Just got back from a recruiting trip to my old MBA haunts – the illustrious University of Michigan Business School – now known as “Ross” but in my days, a simple, UBMS.  (Future post coming contrasting U of M and  U of Washington BBA candidates).

The return to my MBA roots brings me back to things like marginal cost curves, NPV, the 4 Ps and…. Mission Statements.

Mission Statements feel like something, that are wisely crafted, set out at the beginning of a organization, a set of precepts that the organization has always had, that they can always look to, that always have defined their reason for being.  Truth be told, I’ve only recently stumbled across our mission statement – through the scribbles on the bottom of page 30 on the book, How Google Works:

Dramatically improve the lives of our employees and clients (in that order) through outstanding marketing.

I had jotted that down about a four months before a conversation with one of my coworkers who asked me a very important question during a quarterly 1:1:1 (everyone meets with their direct boss and myself for a candid conversation at least quarterly). “What would you see as success in a year?” This is a question I ask people all the time, but it was the first time someone had turned it around on me.  My first answer was immediate an inaccurate – “I have everything I want and need.”  That night, I mulled his question and came back to those notes jotted down on page 30.

Its our mission – we’ve just never verbalized it before.  There’s a lot packed into those words:

  1. I only want clients for whom we can deliver great results.
  2. We fire lawyers who are obnoxious, unrealistic or rude.  I’d rather terminate a client than lose a coworker.
  3. We aren’t constrained to a particular tactic – content, blogs, websites, advertising – but instead need to find those tactics that best serve the client’s individual needs.
  4. Coworkers are more important than clients – I believe, long term that creating an opportunity to dramatically improve the lives of our employees engenders the elusive attitude and commitment to excellence that delivers great results for our clients.

Enough high level, MBA style pontifications…. back to work.