In the world of Vision and Mission statements these days the emphasis is on being specific, clear and short. Examples of this emphasis are seen in Ikea’s Vision statement: “To create a better everyday life for the many people”, and Tesla’s Mission statement: “To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.”
Today you also hear of companies having a Mantra. The Cambridge dictionary has a definition of Mantra as a “a word or phrase that is often repeated and expresses a particular strong belief.” They give an example of the British fans chanting that familiar football mantra: "Here we go, here we go, here we go..."
In his book The Art of the Start, Guy Kawasaki recommends postponing writing a Mission statement and instead crafting a Mantra for your organization. The Mantra should emphasize “what kind of meaning do you see your organization making”. What is it’s “Why”? He says that the beauty of a Mantra is that “everybody expects it to be short and sweet” and he suggests that the world’s shortest Mantra is the single Hindi word “Om”.
Here are a few business and organization Mantra examples that he gives to illustrate the power of a good mantra;
- Fun family entertainment (Disney)
- Rewarding everyday moments (Starbucks)
- Winning is everything (Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers)
Creating a Mission statement can be a painful, long and frustrating experience that requires more time when many people are involved. Starting by creating a Mantra can enhance the Mission statement process because you have a meaningful, short and emotional core focus to expand into the Mission statement later. My suggested order is to start with a Vision statement, evolve a Mantra and then create the Mission statement.
Another point that Kawasaki makes is to not confuse Mantras and Taglines. He states that a Mantra is for “your employees; it’s a guideline for what they do in their jobs. A Tagline is for your customers: it’s a guideline for how to use your product or service.” For example, Nike’s mantra is “Authentic athletic performance.” Its tag line is “Just do it”.
Kawasaki starts his book with a top five list of “the most important things that an entrepreneur must accomplish” when starting a business. They are:
- Make Meaning – create a product or service that makes the world a better place
- Make Mantra – take your meaning and make a Mantra out of it
- Get Going – start creating and delivering your product or service
- Define Your Business Model – figure out a way to make money
- Weave a Mat (Milestones, Assumptions and Tasks) – develop lists on each of these to keep your organization on track
Sage advice and “Making Mantra” in your business can inspire your employees to feel the meaning of what they do and want to remain part of it.