The importance of sticking to its Mission Statement became abundantly clear to Spindrift School of Performing Arts’ Keira Robalino as she did some historical tracking for the organization. She found that the organization’s level of success over the past 21 years was directly proportional to how closely it aligned hiring, planning and programs with the Mission Statement. She realized that components that work together to inspire the children they serve never fail. In fact, maintaining this focus produced growth that wouldn’t slow down – even when the organization outgrew its space.
Create formulaic success that aligns with Mission Statement.
Sticking to a Mission Statement can be difficult for organizations like Spindrift. She feels fortunate, that as a non-profit they have always had boards who believed in the Mission Statement and did not try and dictate the focus of the organization. To reduce these distractions, Spindrift tries to build its business sustainability independently of grants. It’s a challenge, but the results are worth the extra effort.
Keira believes the Mission Statement is the mechanism that holds the business’ compass true. The end goal whether a business is for profit or not can never be money. Any business – regardless of what it is – has to fill a need. It must provide value to its customers.
“If your focus is service and providing the best service and delivery possible, the money will be there. We strive to always deliver MORE than the customer expect. The Mission Statement, if correctly worked out and stated, will provide the stanchions and velvet ropes of your journey.”
Use focused decision making that helps avoid distractions.
Being focused on clear goals doesn’t eliminate distractions. In fact, they abound. One of the biggest distractions for Keira’s organization is grant money. Grant money is needed but it sometimes demands the recipient to focus on something that doesn’t necessarily align with the Mission Statement. When grant money has “strings attached” and those strings don’t align with the Mission Statement, it can result in costing the organization more than money. It can “cost you” in lost focus, time and resources that would have produced results that are also lost.
“Sometimes you have to be a buzzkill and opt out of a distraction that has some in your organization (or supporting your organization) are passionate about. We’ve been able to make our success rather formulaic. It has worked for us for 20 years. We add new things slowly and never eradicate successful things.”
Passion doesn’t belong in the decision making process. It belongs in a place that is much more powerful: the Mission Statement that guides everything the business does.
Stick to goals that are transformational for business.
A business without a clearly stated Mission Statement has no goals. What guides it? What steers short, medium and long range planning? What shapes culture?
Using its Mission Statement, a business can manage growth. It has a clear guide for adding – or discarding things that align or don’t align with the Mission Statement.
Spindrift School of Performing Arts is a very different organization today. More than a decade ago, the company averaged about $80k per year with 1 or 2 part time dance teachers and 2 part time musicians (who were also the founders). The organization has had 11 years of positive growth and is now servicing over 2000 kids per year. With its savings, Spindrift acquired 6,800 square feet of portables to help expand its space to accommodate existing and potential growth.
“The growth can be terrifying, because we are out of the little non-profit/tiny business territory and into a territory with responsibilities to many artists. But we’re pretty secure in knowing that if we just stick to our Mission Statement we will be fine.”
As we’ve noted, the Mission Statement is critical to decision making that directly impacts outcomes for businesses. Owners who use their Mission Statement to guide their decision making haven’t removed passion from their business. They’ve actually put their passion into action by sticking to their Mission Statement.