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Deb Neuman Deb Neuman
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What is your mission?

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Deal breakers. We all have them especially when talking about relationships. But we should also have them when it comes to our business and professional lives. Not only should we have them we should know what they are! I once interviewed Ben & Jerry's and learned that the ice cream they've been making and we've loved for years is much more than ice cream. Every pint represents Ben & Jerry's values and mission as a company. If you visit their website you'll find this:

 

Ben & Jerry's Mission Statement

Ben & Jerry's is founded on and dedicated to a sustainable corporate concept of linked prosperity. Our mission consists of three interrelated parts:

Social Mission: To operate the Company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally. 

Product Mission: To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment. 

Economic Mission: To operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our stakeholders and expanding opportunities for development and career growth for our employees. 

Underlying the mission of Ben & Jerry's is the determination to seek new and creative ways of addressing all three parts, while holding a deep respect for individuals inside and outside the company and for the communities of which they are a part.

Writing a mission statement is one thing. Living it is another. Ben and Jerry's lives this every day. They explained that every decision made in the company must meet and align with one or more of these statements. If it doesn't it doesn't happen. For example, they told me that they buy the brownies they use in some of their most popular flavors from small bakeries to insure the best quality. They could save money by purchasing them from a large scale manufacturer but the quality would suffer. That would go against their product mission.

As your business or career grows, new opportunities will come your way. Those opportunities require decisions and choices. It can be difficult to make some of them. But it becomes a lot easier if you write down your mission statement. What are your top three priorities? What are your deal breakers for your business or your career? These may change and evolve over time, as your business grows and as your life changes, so it's important to re-visit these and make adjustments as needed.   

If your workplace doesn't have a mission statement, it should. Every employee should know what it is to insure consistency in all decision making. Ben & Jerry's described how everyone in the company is very aware of their core values and mission. Every conversation, decision and action is based on 'does it fit our mission?' Too often, companies write a mission statement in their business plan for the bank, in their annual report to investors, or in their marketing materials for the public. But they forget to inform their employees the real decision makers of their mission! It needs to be part of the conversation in every business. Preparing one for yourself can help you make smart decisions regarding the direction of your professional and personal life - decisions that best serve your values and priorities. Ben & Jerry's has clearly proven that staying true to your core values can lead to sweet success! It's more than just about writing down the words, it's about living them one pint at a time!

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