mission and vision – the only reason why we are still in business

You do it for the 20% of time that is valuable.

First – I believe in vision and mission statements so much that I have vision and mission cards, with values and our honor code printed on the back, both in my wallet and given to every employee. I’m now that CEO who constantly reinforces vision, mission, values and honor code. The first two vision and mission being my responsibility to articulate, and the second two, values and honor code being the responsibility of the employees as a team to define and hold each other accountable to.

Second – this was a hard change for me. In 1997 when I started the company I was most definitely NOT that guy. I was the other guy. The one who when I quit corporate America refused to allow our company to have meetings. “Curbside coaching” and “quick huddles” around a desk were allowed but no meetings as they were a “waste of time.” said the old me. Vision statement? Bah-hum-bug. Move fast. This was 1997, or I guess 1995 for my 4th business (I’d rather not discuss 1 through 4 as they all sucked, but 5 turned out better. Another blog post.)

Training – yes. I definitely believed in training and we had numerous training CDs and TechNet (a Microsoft CD system we used when we were a Microsoft Partner back in the late 90s. (zOMG, HAL-PC flash backs and all. It’s hard to believe how much has changed. and I don’t miss our 128kb DLS line.) I bought as many books if not more for employees back when the company was young s I do now. But they don’t ask for books these days. Which is kinda sad, but ultimately on me.

When we needed a more formal training program I built a training room with used furniture from a Gateway store that was going out of business. It was built like a training room and we called it a training room. Whiteboards instead of drywall all around the room.

Slowly after we passed 5 or 10 employees they started to DEMAND we have meetings. “Ed, we don’t know what is going on!” This shocked me. Who the hell wants a meeting? I acquiesced and we’d do a 5 minute meeting and then 45 minutes of training every Monday. But we never called it a meeting. It was training.

I thought vision and mission statements were crap. And frankly most are. And most meetings are still are a waste of time. Well, not most meetings, but “most of the meeting.” Clarity is important here.

I now realize that meetings are like training – 80% of the time may be wasted on each employee, but 20% of the time is invaluable for some employee and those fragments don’t match up. And you can’t predict which is which.