What does your organization do?
Most people respond with a statement. We make X. We provide Y. Those that want to get fancy might quote the company’s mission statement.
Dump the mission and find a question
In the latest issue of Inc. Magazine, I read an interview of business journalist Warren Berger. In it, he was asked, “You talk about replacing mission statements with questions. Why?”
His response got my attention. It began, “I think people can rally around a question more than a statement.” I agree. I love questions. They pull you in to discover the answer. When faced with the right question, my energy level soars.
It continued, “A statement says we’ve done it already . . . The statement is a little arrogant and maybe a little bit of a false claim.” Again, right on the head. In most cases, there is plenty of room to improve what we do. Questions acknowledge that growth potential.
A phone company’s question
Imagine a cell phone company stating its mission to be, “We make phones that people can use on the go.” If that was their complete mission, they would have been finished a long time ago. “Shut down R&D. We’ve arrived at our destination.”
A question that has kept them going might be, “What if people could receive or send any information they want right now?” We all know there’s still plenty of improvement opportunity when it comes to location, power, and transmission speed. The question sparks innovation.
That got me thinking about my business. In response to “What do you do?” my usual reply is “I provide team building, meeting facilitation, and training services.”
What would be the question that keeps me going? I can think of a several, but the one that rises to the top is, “What enables a work team to reach its potential?” I certainly have some ideas and opinions about this. What keeps me jazzed is the ongoing search for even better ideas.
Your turn. What’s your question? If you would like to create a work session around this idea, let me know. Together, we’ll find your organization the perfect question.
Image credit: Bilal Kamoon