Don’t underestimate the importance of a mission statement. It underpins everything a company does – and without it, odds are your organisation will flounder and lose its way.
VP of corporate development for Google, David Lawee, says a powerful mission statement “attracts the best capital, the best people, and everything else needed to build an enduring business”.
Speaking at the Better by Design summit, Lawee pointed at Yahoo as a company that’s struggling, which he attributes to its failure to articulate its mission.
He says he’s made around 1000 informed bets on companies, and of Google’s 120 acquisitions, with two-thirds have been deemed successful (compared to an industry average of a third to a half, he claims). And those that do best are the companies whose visions most closely align with that of Google’s.
Icebreaker chief Jeremy Moon, who led the seminar, tried to tease out of Lawee his thoughts on balancing passion versus excellent commercial execution. It seems Lawee believes that particularly in the web space, commercial success will follow if the entrepreneurial heart and passion is there – focus on the user, and all will follow. He also touched on the importance of intuition – don’t forget to listen to your gut when making business decisions.
In answer to an audience question about whether Google has started to drift from its core motto: “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, with the likes of Google+ and Search Plus Your World, Lawee simply said that sometimes it might not be obvious how individual tactics build toward a vision. The return of founder Larry Page to the helm of Google marks a return to its original mission, he says, with the notion that identity is part of organising and capturing information.