Momentum Podcast: 654
Why Your Vision Isn't Working
by Alex Charfen
Years ago I was meeting with a friend of mine and I asked him if his company had a Vision Statement. He said sure, and then got up and walked out of the room. I didn't really understand what was going on until he walked back in with a framed copy of his vision statement and read it to me.
I remember asking him, “do you guys even use this?” His reply was no. They had hired a consultant a few years earlier who walked them through a two day offsite to create their vision statement and once they hung it on the wall, they didn't really think about it again.
His vision statement had the same problems that most do. It was completely and totally focused on the company, not on their movement, and not on who they serve.
There's a better way to get your company focused and going in the right direction.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the momentum podcast.
There's a catastrophic mistake that entrepreneurs make when they put together a mission statement or a vision statement for their company. The problem is that these statements focus a lot on what the company is and what the company does, but they fail to focus on the movement they're creating and the people that they're serving.
In this episode of the Momentum Podcast Alex is going to introduce you to a very simple four step framework that will help you develop the vision for your company, with a focus on the people that you serve and the movement that you're trying to create. I hope you enjoy.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trail blazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.
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Years ago, I was sitting down with a friend of mine in his office here in Austin, a really great guy, named Sanjay Nascar. And I remember asking him, "Hey, do you have a vision statement for your company?" And he said, "Sure." He jumped up, walked out of the room. And I'm like, Whoa, Whoa, where'd he go? And came back about 30 seconds later with a frame and read me his vision statement.
I'm like, "Where'd you get that frame?" And he said, "From the lobby." And I asked him, "So, do you guys really use this vision statement? Is this something that means something to you?" And he admitted that a few years earlier, they had hired a consultant who walked them through a framework where they were able to create this vision statement, or this statement that sounded a lot like so many of these vision statements sound.
And I don't mean to be judgemental, but here's the challenge that I see over and over again with company mission or vision statements. They are almost 100% about the company. Here's what I mean by that. When you look at most companies, vision or mission statements, the reason they're doing it wrong is they sound something like this. Smithfield Gravel intends to be the largest gravel supply company in the Northwestern corridor, supplying contractors and builders, and making sure that they get the gravel that they need at the right price and the right time and we are going to be number one.
Okay, so that was pretty terrible, but let's get real. It's actually close to what a lot of vision statements or mission statements sound like. In fact, when Katie and I were in real estate, they all sounded like cookie cutter the same.
The Bob Smith team endeavors to be the number one team in all of South Florida, helping homeowners buy and sell properties and get into the right place and get excited about real estate and on and on and on. And again, it's about them. It's about the Bob Smith team.
And I remember the most memorable example of this for me, or one of the most memorable examples of this for me is years ago I was at a genius network meeting with Joe Polish. We were at lunch and I sat down next to somebody who I have a huge amount of respect for Clate Mask, who's the CEO of Infusionsoft, literally one of the brightest guys on the planet, incredibly good human being like solid, solid guy. I've known Clate for years. Clate and I got on Infusionsoft in 2008. We started with Infusionsoft when they were only 40 people. I think they're 8 or 900 people now. Clate Mask actually did part of our onboarding training when we went into the office, we were so early on the platform.
And so I was sitting next to Clate and we were talking and he was talking to me about what we were doing and I was explaining it to him. And I told him how we were helping people with their mission, vision, creating a plan to get there, the details, the nuts and bolts of how you really build a business.
And Clate said, "Oh, well, that's great. You know, my team and I had been working on our new mission, vision statement. I would love to share it with you." And he went and grabbed a folder and he pulled it out and the folder was pretty formal and I think I made a comment like, "It looks like you're pretty along the way." And he said, "Well, yeah, we've been working on this for about six months. It's been through two rounds of revisions with our executive team. We really think we've nailed it. You know, here, let me read it to you."
And I sat back and I let Clate read it to me. And I remember like, I didn't want to respond immediately. I said, "Clate, do you think I could just read it? Sometimes I have trouble with auditory processing. Do you mind if I read it?" And I read it. And I was like, trying to find something good to say, but here's what was going on. That mission, vision statement had nothing to do with the client.
And over and over again, with the gravel company example, I gave you, it's like, it's about gravel. It's about that company. And with the real estate company that I told you about, it's about real estate and about that company.
And when I read the Infusionsoft statement, it was everything that Infusionsoft wanted to be, but it didn't mention their members. It didn't mention their clients. It didn't mention the people who pay them monthly, recurring revenue every month. It had no focus around the people that actually keep the business open.
And this is why so many people's mission and vision statements just aren't working. So many businesses, mission and vision statements are flat. They're empty, they're hollow because they talk about the business, not the people we are having an effect on. And so in our organization, we train a client centric mission where you create a statement, that's all about the member.
And so I remember talking to Clate and I read it to myself again. And then I looked up and I said, "Clate, you know what? I think this is a really good mission vision statement for the traditional way of looking at things."
And I think Clate was actually working with Jim Collins, which, if you look at Good to Great in Jim Collins, all of the mission vision statements are about the company. They're not about the members that are being served. They're not about the clients.
That's one of the big arguments I have with the book Good to Great. It's one of the arguments I have with Good to Great. There's more, I think it's a decent book with some good solid business principles, but this is one of the places where it gets really confusing. Because if you're just talking about your business, how does your customer know you're talking about them?
And I remember when I said that to Clate, when I said, "Hey, there's no mention here of your members. I'm one of the people who's on your platform. And when I read this, I don't see myself in it." And I looked up and I remember it looked like the blood had drained out of Clate's face because they had put a ton of time into this.
And it clearly, after I had said it to him, you could see that he was thinking, "Well, that's kind of obvious, how did we miss this?" And he looked at it and he said, "You know, you're right. What would you suggest?"
And I shared with him the framework we use, the client centric, mission framework we use. Now, I want you to know something, I'm going to share with you in a minute, how I might be able to coach you in October on your client centric mission, if you're interested.
But I want to share with you what I said to Clate. I said, "Clate, the way that we put these together is pretty simple. We answer four questions. Who are you going to help? How are you going to help them? What is the change you're going to make? And how will you know, you're successful? Let me share my mission statement with you. This is what we call our client centered mission for Charfen.
Our client centered mission is we help visionary entrepreneurs who have expertise and want to make a contribution just as much as they want to make a living. We help them by showing the process, structure and routine it takes to grow a business in a predictable way so that you know what's coming.
And the change we want to make is that visionary entrepreneurs get the help they need so that they can go out and change the world. And we will know we're successful when visionary entrepreneurs around the world are using our systems, our frameworks, our processes, to grow businesses, get into the passenger seat and change the world.
And I remember Clate saying, "Well, yeah, like that actually speaks to me." I was talking to him about our company. He said, "Well, I see myself in that statement." And I do too. And that's why we teach the client centric mission instead of a vision statement, instead of some other type of mission statement, answering the questions, who are you going to help? How are you going to help them? What's the change you're going to make? And how will you know you're successful?
When you answer that, that is your elevator pitch. That's what you say, when somebody says, "What do you do?" at a cocktail party. That's what you tell a prospective employee. When there's somebody who might be one of your members or clients, we say, here's what we do. And then they clearly see themselves, if they should be our member, they see themselves in our client centered mission. And this is what you can rally your entire team around. And a client centered mission is so much more powerful because it's the basis for the movement you're creating. What's the movement I'm creating? I'm helping visionary entrepreneurs around the world to join a coaching membership and a community where they can have the process, structure and routine that they can go out and change the world.
That is a movement. I'm creating a massive social business movement to change the way that entrepreneurship is done. And in order to do that, I have to talk about the movement itself. Who are you going to help? How are you going to help them? What's the change you're going to make, and how will you know you're successful?
These four simple question, if you just answer them in your head while you're talking to somebody, you can tell them your client centric mission for your business. And when you formalize this and share it with your team and share it with everyone who works with you, share it with all your clients, they now can understand exactly what you're doing and the movement they are part of.
And by making this shift, your vision or mission statement becomes infinitely more clear. Your members, the people you're trying to attract to your company now see themselves in the description of the company. You can use this to make sure that when you're recruiting, when you're bringing on new team members, that they know exactly what your company does. And the client centered mission is incredibly powerful because it is actually the basis for the movement you're going to create that's going to change the world. Now, I don't have time to share that today, but I'm going to be sharing it coming up soon. In the first week of October, October 6th, 7th and 8th, I'm going to be doing three days of training where I'm shooting content for behind the paywall, in our products. And in those three days of training, I'm going to be teaching the entrepreneurial personality type, the billionaire code, the client centric mission, which I just shared with you.
But really the client centered mission and how it relates to your social movement. Who are you going to help? How are you going to help them? What's the change you're going to make? And how will you know you're successful? I want to show you those four questions for your social movement and how the client centered mission and your social movement relate exactly to each other.
So this is really exciting. And then I'm also going to be sharing some momentum planning, momentum equation, and some of our other content. And here's what I'm doing, rather than just sit here and record a bunch of content by myself, I actually love to have a live audience. I'd love to have people there. I love to get some feedback afterwards. So October 6th, 7th and 8th, I'm going to be recording content for our platform, live with an audience, and you can attend if you want. If you go to momentummasterclass.com, you can sign up to be there all three days and I wouldn't miss any of the three days.
The first day I'm doing an entrepreneurial personality then the billionaire code, the second day. First thing in the morning, I'm doing client centric mission and how does it relate to the social movement of your business?
I always tell entrepreneurs, every business is a movement. Most of them just aren't that good. I want yours to be one of the good ones. So go to momentummasterclass.com, sign up, and then here's what I'm going to do that day. When I teach client centric mission, I'm going to stick around afterwards and answer any questions anybody has. And if you want some help on this, if you want to understand it, if you want to be able to share your client centric mission and get some feedback, I will be there to help you with it. So go to momentummasterclass.com. Here's my goal. There has been a lot of challenges in the entrepreneurial world. There's been a lot of frustration in the entrepreneurial world. There's a lot of people who are not in momentum and they're not feeling it. So, in those three days, while I'm recording content for our products, for our platform, I want to also share that content with you, then stick around, answer questions, help you understand it, and make sure that at the end of those three days, you are in momentum and ready to create more.
So go to momentummasterclass.com. I would love to see you there October 6th, 7th, and 8th, where I'll be teaching a bunch of our content and a deeper dive on the client centered mission that I shared today. Just this simple concept and framework can completely change your business and get you and your team into momentum. Go to momentummasterclass.com, register to be there. I look forward to seeing you there.