When we’re planning ahead for what’s going to make the year great, we’re often thinking externally. We’re thinking marketplace objectives, budgets, spreadsheets, and check marks. We do this. Companies do this. And you know what? That’s fine. It’s important! The problem is, working with SWOT, we’re so used to applying it externally, we forget to apply it internally. But what exactly is behind the vision and the mission statements that you’ve created?

Mission statements are just words if you can’t really internalize what they mean — and let’s be honest, most people can’t tell you what the ‘mission statement’ of their company says or means. They don’t know what their company values are. That’s the important step as a team — what do you actually value? And I don’t’ mean truth, integrity, all that high-level stuff. No, I mean, who do you want to be? How do you honor disagreement? How do you honor mistakes? What do you value in terms of relationship and humanity? How do you interact and work together?

Then, when it comes time to have the planning meeting for how great 2021 is going to be, what if you focus on that? This is how we decided we wanted to be, you remind each other. These are the boundaries and the container in which you are going to build the rest of this empire. 

Often, leaders might take the first step — they have the conversation and establish the values. But they forget the second step: after establishing, you have to apply those values to the everyday and mundane activities to keep them up. You’ve got to remind your team so often that they can hear it coming before it leaves your mouth — they can say it with you, because they’ve come to know you mean it and you live it. Bring those values into internal relationships and the decision making process.

We stay so focused on the numbers, the mechanicals, the marketplace position, the operational decisions that need to be made for production, that we forget that all of this is being done by people. And people need a reminder of the values and promises you made to one another for how you choose to disagree, communicate, and receive one another.

Most importantly, people need to know they are valued in the process.

Photo by Maxime Lebrun on Unsplash