I was working with a client recently and asked a series of questions "What is your organization's mission statement?", "What is your purpose?", "Why does your organization exists?". He turned my questions back on me and before I knew it I said J Riley Collins Consulting exist to "help good people do good work!" Just like that I had articulated the mission of my consulting firm.
Very often we make developing a mission statement overly complicated. We simply need to explore "the why". Answering "the why" question may be as simple as thinking about what compelled you toward the work you do. Was it watching a loved one die from a disease? Was it being hungry as a child? What ever it was, it is the purpose that will guide your response to the other questions - for whom, where, how, and what impact we hope to acheive.
My why came at a moment in life when I felt a need to do more. I had transitioned from a traditional day job but felt like there is work yet to be done. I was observing rights that I knew had been hard won widdled away. I saw on the news the stories of community members dieing because there was no access to affordable, quality healthcare. I talked to teachers who were doing all they could to educate hungry children without textbooks in crumbling buildings. I felt a burden to still be in the fight (so to speak). And then a friend called and said "hey I need some help". She needed a thought partner to help develop a strategy around an issue her organization had been tackling. I said sure and together, she, her staff and I began the work of operational and strategic alignment that has improved organizational capacity for impactful outcomes.
I was fueled by being able to help her. As she and her team thanked me for stepping in to help and she commented how I seem to look at problem sets from various perspectives and quickly develop solutions. I knew then that all of my experience conducting "Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield" (IPB) assessments (I will share how I use IPB in developing policy strategy in a later blog) as an Intelligence Officer, my critical thinking skills honed as an attorney, and even my time walking the corridors of the Pentagon negotiating the development of policy had been preparation for "the why" that led to the formalization of J Riley Collins Consulting, LLC. J Riley Collins Consulting exists to help good people do good work!
Don't get bogged down in the fog of mission statement development. Focus first on "the why?"