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Darth Vader and the Contribution Chain

Vision, Mission & Purpose are outdated

How do you drive internal engagement?

Ernest Hemingway said: “When people talk listen completely. Don’t be thinking what you’re going to say. Most people never listen. Nor do they observe.”

It’s often the case companies don’t listen to themselves. They rate external ideas higher than their own and do not listen to their own people first.

Case in point:

“We need  a vision, mission and purpose”, say the exec team.

No. You need to listen to your people.

Too often we shoehorn templated fashions into companies without asking if we need them. “If [insert big American brand] does it, obviously we should.”

So ask your employees: “What is our vision, mission and purpose?”

No one buys into the vision apart from the owners and leaders.

The mission – meh.

And purpose – Darth Vader, Ming the Merciless and Napoleon were all purpose-led people, but they didn’t contribute much to society.

Vision, Mission and Purpose end up in that £100k strategy powerpoint vacuum no one looks at because they are outdated.

Instead ask your people: “What do you feel your contribution is?”

A strong employee knows what they contribute as an individual and the impact they have on the company, the customer and the bigger picture.

Contribution is more powerful than vision, mission and purpose because it’s about the person.

I once worked with a tech company where the employees knew their own contribution and could connect it to a global social benefit. But no one had ever written it down. Once they articulated it, it started to change the way they communicated externally.

That was more powerful than any vision or mission.

So abandon silly templates. They are not useful. Statements that mean nothing will – hey, guess what – never mean anything to anyone.

Listen to your people and expand on that. It’s a solid place to start for better engagement.

Have a great week


Dan is an expert in global technology brand marketing and sales. He has advised IBM, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Samsung and Cisco on brand position, go-to-market strategy and sales performance. He has launched businesses in Fintech, Cleantech, SaaS and marketing platforms. Dan is an award-winning tech journalist who wrote for the Financial Times and Economist Group.

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