The Wedge – Part Three: Mission

4 mins read

The third stage of this idea falls under the same category as lots of other topics on this site. Simple, not easy. Most agencies, organizations and affiliations create a set of standards called mission, vision and values. Beyond the LinkedIn verbage used, there should be some real meat to the way we define what it is we’re working toward. The trouble is, it’s sometimes just left to the reader to really figure out what’s meant in those lofty, esoteric statements.

The mission should clearly and concisely define what the team is marching toward.

But, let’s peel that apart a little bit. After all, we’ve already assumed our team has the endurance to continue and has readied themselves. So, how can you tell them what they’re working on?

This article is supplemental to The Wedge: Developing Personal Doctrine – a workshop provided by Bill Dungey. Book us to come speak to your organization – send an email!

A mission statement answers one question.

Why are we doing what we’re doing?

Or, written from the perspective of a guy in issued boots; for everything we have to put up with – the rain, the politics, the sweat and hunger, the extra curriculars and the quagmire of emotions – why are we here?

Let me give you a real world example.

I believe every high-performing group should have a mission statement.

Maybe even subgroups, too. Maybe even individuals within those groups should each have their own carefully articulated mission statement.

Given that, I decided to craft a mission for our martial arts club. After all, we’re doing all the things that high-performing teams do. We show up, regardless of the variables in play and offer to our training partners careful attention and ruthless aggression. We ask that our training be augmented by the aims of others in a very active way – that’s the slap and bump that starts each round. I see you, you see me, let’s bang it out.

The mission, vision and values of our teams need to be manicured. No fat left over to chew on.

Each word carefully selected and defined within the statement itself.

“To decisively become more resilient.”

If asked, I could confidently answer. That’s why we’re here.

The word ‘To’ assumes that we’re moving forward toward something. ‘Decisively’, in our mission statement, means that we’re making a conscious decision. It’s no accident that we’ve gathered on the mats today. When we become anything, we identify a difference between what we were and what we have grown to be. ‘More’ implies that everybody begins with a baseline of some fortitude and in the same way argues that there is no total or complete stage of personal growth. Then, the bullseye of our mission – resilience. The skill that allows us to interact with trauma.

There’s nothing to weigh or measure here beyond the statement itself. As far as I can muster, it’s clear, concise and complete.

What are we marching for?

It’s easy to ask our people to march. Encumbered by the weights of gear, time, people and policy, we ask our teams to keep pressing forward.

And that’s okay, too.

That’s what most of us signed up for – and even if you didn’t, there’s going to be chapters of your life that will demand your endurance whether you asked for it or not.

Before we assign any fraction of our attention to observing how we might influence something like culture, we have to develop a razor sharp mission. A mission that answers the ‘why’ irrefutably.

Bill Dungey is a volunteer firefighter in Ontario, Canada. He is focused on fitness, mindset development and finding training opportunities to help the fire service make things better.

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The Wedge – Part Four: Action

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