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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0074 | October 8, 2002
5,500 Subscribers


picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.

From the Publisher: 
Hello MFJ Readers. This issue explores a practical approach to facilitating the development of mission statements for an organization. We'd like to thank
Frank A. Prince, Involvement Systems, Inc. for this article.

If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading!
 
Steve Davis


Skill

Facilitating  Mission
 A shared mission is a powerful tool to catalyze a group.


The Point

Mission statements for organizations have become more and more popular in the past five to ten years. They've moved from a business fad to a sustained trend through the 90's. They are now a standard form of management by objective and can help executive and employees reach company goals. At best, such statements can get people charged up about their work. At worst, they are badly written up or poorly communicated to others. A mission statement has commitment from those involved in the development. Many organizations create a mission statement for the company which is passed down through the organization. It can be more effective to have each division, plant, team, or work group develop their own mission based on the company's overriding mission. They can tailor it themselves and also take into account where the organization believes it is going based on the organization's mission. In any case, many facilitators are being asked to facilitate the development of mission statements for groups. The following is a process that can be very effective in helping to create that mission.

Application

Step 1: Mission statement ice breaker -- have each individual tear a blank sheet of paper out of a notepad (8 1/2 x 11). Have them get in pairs and have one partner hold the sheet up while the other partner places their palm in the center of the paper and tried to press through and break through the paper (with a lot of difficulty and struggling, eventually they will be able to push through and break the paper with their hand). Next, have the other partner hold their sheet of paper up and instead of using their palm, have the individual use the point of their finger to push through the paper (papers will be breaking quickly and easily on this round). Now debrief the activity. Talk about the parallels of creating a mission statement and focusing the organization toward its goal.

Step 2: Have each individual take a blank sheet of paper and write down what they think the mission statement is for their organization. You may provide them with some of the following guidelines.

    1. The mission is the organization's reason for being.
    2. The mission is different than goals or objectives.
    3. A mission is stated as concisely and clearly as possible.
    4. The mission should contain a few of the major priorities of the organization.
    5. The mission statement should balance both the head and the heart.
Step 3: Have the individuals pair up and share their mission statement (around five minutes). Next, while paired up and using their own mission statements, have the two individuals create a mission statement that they both can agree on.

Step 4: Have each pair join up with another pair so that the groups are in quads and have this group of four share their mission statements and then create one mission statement that all four of them can buy into (the groups will begin to "wordsmith" and make changes that fit with all members of the group).

Step 5: Once again, have the groups of four pair up with another group of four and share their mission statement. Create another mission statement that all eight can agree upon.

Step 6: Continue this process until you are down to two groups which combine and create one mission statements for the entire group.

Step 7: Have the group read the mission statement aloud in unison (a cheer and round of applause should be in order after the reading).

Step 8: Have everyone write down the new mission statement for the group in their day planners, address books or something that they carry with them wherever they go (they can even put it on a small sheet of paper and place it in their wallets).

Companies often put their mission or vision in a book on a shelf after they have gone through the trouble of hammering it out. That turns the effort into a drill rather than a tool. Just as with other plans, the mission statement should change over time. It is not something you carve in stone. It will evolve. The follow-up to this session is to look for ways to communicate your mission to others inside the organization so that they understand what you are about. Also, future strategic decisions should be checked against the mission to be sure they are in alignment. 


Written by: Frank A. Prince, Involvement Systems, Inc.


Action

Develop or refine your own life mission this week. Get help from close friends and colleagues. I'd love to hear what happens for you. Please email me your comments.


The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life, by Laurie Beth Jones

The PATH in a world in which we are daily forced to make decisions that lead us either closer to or further from our goals, no tool is as valuable in providing direction as a mission statement -- a brief, succinct, and focused statement of purpose that can be used to initiate, evaluate, and refine all of life's activities.

Individuals and companies have recently been learning what history has demonstrated all along -- that people or groups with carefully defined missions have always led and surpassed those who have none. Yet the process of outlining that mission statement has been, up to now, an arduous one that all too few have committed the time, energy, and resources to undertake.

In The Path, Laurie Beth Jones, author of the national bestseller Jesus CEO, provides inspiring and practical advice to lead listeners through every step of both defining and fulfilling a mission. With more than ten years' experience in assisting groups and individuals, Jones offers clear, step-by-step guidance that help you create a mission statement in a matter of hours rather than a month or years. Rich with humor, exercises, and case histories, The Path is essential listening for anyone seeking a lighter, clearer way in the world. 


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Reader Survey 

What assessments do you use to support your efforts as a facilitator?

This week, we're asking you share
any assessments or inventories you use to assess members of your groups to better prepare them for the work you facilitate. Please include the name of the assessment, a brief description, its benefits, its weaknesses, situations where it is best used, and any other general comments you feel would be relevant. Please email me them to me and I'll send the entire collection to those who contribute.

If you know someone who might benefit and enjoy this newsletter, please send this link to a friend.


About the Author
Steve Davis is a Facilitator's Coach helping leaders enhance their effectiveness through the application and perspective of facilitation. Please email or call me at 805-489-4130 to schedule a Free exploratory session, or to share your suggestions and ideas for the journal. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading!
 


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2. How do we unleash the creativity, talent, and energy of the vast majority of the work force, whose jobs neither require nor reward such resources?
3. How do we create team spirit and harmony among people and departments that have been attacking and criticizing each other for years, while contending for scarce resources, playing political games, and working from hidden agendas?
4. How can we realize that the choice between hardball (“tough” management that tries to force a better bottom line) and softball (“kind” management that hopes for a better bottom line) is transcended by a third alternative that is both tougher and kinder?
5. How can we have a culture characterized by change, flexibility, and continuous improvement and still maintain a sense of stability and security?
6. How do we get people and culture aligned with strategy, so that everyone in an organization is as committed to the strategy as those who formulated it?
7. How can all people at all levels of an organization internalize the principles of total quality and continuous improvement when they are so cynical, fatigued, and disillusioned with all the past “programs of the month”?
8. How can we create a complementary team based on mutual respect when so few value diversity and pluralism?
9. How do we turn a mission statement into a constitution—the supreme guiding force of an entire organization—instead of a collection of nebulous, meaningless, and cynicism-inducing platitudes?
10. How do we maintain control, yet give people the freedom and autonomy they need to be effective and fulfilled in their work? 

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Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal.  Look for your next issue on October 15, 2002.   


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