How the Discipline of Mission Adds Zeros

Monte Wyatt & Brad Sugars, Nov 21, 2019

You can measure how you add zeros in the Discipline of Mission by looking at your company's emotional connections inside and outside the organization.

A few years ago, we worked with a high-end furniture store to set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. This store decided to be a be 50-50 company, meaning that 50% of its profits would go to supporting their community. The store's management never imagined they’d achieve that goal within four years of setting it.

This company’s purpose is to help people live life beautifully. Putting its money where its motto was, the store gave away two home makeovers, that were worth well over $50,000, to two families who had lost everything, one due to a major fire and another where the father died of cancer. The store's attitude is, "Even though you just went through hell because your house has burnt down or you just lost your husband or your father, we still want you to live life beautifully. Here's a gift from us to make your home warm, welcome and inviting."

Now, obviously, not every company can make that kind of commitment to community. But every company needs to be clear about why it is here on Earth.

That is the whole meaning of the Discipline of Mission. It's huge, because profit-crazy businesses have created a monster of a bad rap because they're not helping people.

If we don’t support our local communities, what happens? The community has no faith in us and won’t give us tax breaks or promote us as a great place to work. When a company's all about profit, profit, profit and doesn't give back to its community, the community starts to question its relationship with that company: Okay, so the company just cut 200 more jobs here and are sending them to another country. It is really supporting us? Let’s reexamine our arrangements with this company.

Communities support their local companies with tax breaks, and promote them as great places to work. In return, companies have an obligation to give back to the community by adding jobs, paying taxes, providing volunteers for events, and donating resources to community groups.

For example, Principal Financial in Des Moines, Iowa, is a company that took on the mission of helping its local community by investing in that towns waterfront, cleaning it up and contributing to the development of great walking trails so citizens can enjoy where they live.

If we expect the government to take care of all of our parks and trails and things like that, we're never going to have enough money to really enjoy what we have in our communities. It took a community-minded company to step up, knowing the impact its efforts would have, and valuing its relationship with the community.

Here is how you can measure the way you add zeros to the Discipline of Mission:

  • How much money, products, or services your company donates to charities like the United Way and other groups
  • The number of volunteer hours a company contributes to community groups and activities.

To recap, every company needs to be clear about why it is here on Earth. That is the whole meaning of the Discipline of Mission. It needs to give back to the community, and to measure that by how it goes about that and how many hours it contributes to the community.

We'd love to hear from you. How is your organization giving back to the community? Thank you for sharing.