Missions are for People
October 26, 2022
“You are what you do every day.”
- Jon chu
Your organization is what it values every day.
Just like what you as an individual choose to do every day shapes you, what your organization does every day starts to define that organization. The values set forth by the organization and the actions that manifest because of that focus become the brand. Your clients, partners, and team members will start to learn where they stand. Focus on quality experiences, and users will find value in your engagements. Your organizational reputation flows from what you consistently provide your stakeholders, good or bad.
Most web help is how-to…And it’s not that helpful.
Suppose you are exploring tech platforms through organic search, hoping to learn more about your options. In that case, you may be disappointed in the results. Much organic search-optimized content is built for search engine optimization and is somewhat repetitive. There are only so many ways to sign up for and set up technology platforms; the internet is flooded with those few ways. This is prime material for automation; any task is completed the same way regardless of the context. However, as soon as a job can be automated, it can be readily copied. Such web copy might bring awareness or clicks but will not bring brand loyalty or unique value add. An expansion and diffusion of a codified solution, maybe, but not a client-centered solution in itself.
Automate what you know, not what you wish you knew.
Perhaps part of the issue is that these websites prioritize mass appeal to topics they aren’t masters in. They want to be first in mind for that incredible how-to list, but they still need to work to be the expert on that platform, that tech, or that user. Each quick-fix landing page is against authors who love their stuff and spend their free time thinking about and building around their expertise. Unless you are in the business of creating how-tos, this strategy probably isn’t for your audience. It’s for you to make an audience. Nothing inherently wrong with that but don’t expect people to sign up for your newsletter after making the experience about you. That is not why they are there.
Why’s are like ideas, everyone has one…
Starting with why is pretty standard business, but why needs context. Asking why by itself is primarily philosophical and could be more helpful in formulating operational direction. A seemingly simple question like “why do you do what you do” can have many answers based on who is answering that question. Even more so when you ask the same person that question at different times. It also reflects what you are willing to lose in pursuing that why – many good intentions, and good whys to address, result in destructive action. Purpose and intent are paramount in understanding why; both elements come from people.
Start with “who.”
Being most beneficial to your community and at the same time being most unique in your niche requires that you start with the question “who,” not “how” or even “why.” You can only answer the why question if you know who you are talking about. Outside of the philosophical “why?” we require context. If you are in the business of helping people, then people are your business – they are your “why.” Start with who you are and who your community is. Once those are well defined, you have a better chance of accurately addressing your why because it aligns with the people it is for.
Your reputation is who you put first.
What you are known for comes down to what you do every day, and what you do every day depends on who you are attempting to provide value to on that day. A why can be a good direction setter and an excuse for taking questionable action toward your goal. You will not make everyone happy, and your solution isn’t for everyone. And even the most selfish acts can benefit others down the line. But, each decision affects your relationship with your community in some form or another. If you make the business case that an effort is reasonable because it supports your mission at the expense of your people, knowing who benefits from that mission is essential. Because it’s not for the people you left behind, and not everyone is thrilled about being an expendable part of the dream you sold to them.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou