How do you figure out your “corporate why”?
Recently we’ve been discussing the best way to phrase what we do as well as why we do it at Twentyfour.
That’s not an easy task.
Honestly, I believe most mission statements or corporate why’s are pretty silly. Sometimes even – excuse my french – bullshit.
I know this is pretty bold – and perhaps even contradictory – as I’m now typing the first few sentences of a blog post that will outline our mission.
And even though I believe the above I honestly believe that reflection and proactive thoughtfulness is the way to go (does that sound like bullshit? My apologies – I’m trying to be sincere so please stick around a bit more).
Ever since I discovered that Twentyfour was actually a company with real employees, real desks, real revenue, real problems and even business cards (yeah, we had those back when I thought it was important) – I’ve been uncertain as to why I’m doing what I’m doing.
Why do I work? Why does anyone work at Twentyfour?
Twentyfour was not founded on some well-thought-out plan. It wasn’t an accident either. I just started doing things.
At some point I discovered that the company was no longer just me doing things but an actual business. That’s when I started wondering about the why.
I never found some cool sentence like “Changing diabetes” (I’ve seen this countless times when running past someone working at Novo Nordisk in my trips around the lakes of Copenhagen). I’d love to have such a cool, sleek slogan for Twentyfour. Perhaps “Changing websites” or “Making the world a better place, one website at a time”.
I actually believe Novo Nordisk is an extremely impressive business and I think they’ve really nailed their communication with this 2-word-payoff, but I’ve also figured out that Twentyfour is not Novo Nordisk.
So how do you handle this? If you’re not directly working to solve some pressing issue for the world, then why bother?
I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your work for what it is.
At Twentyfour we go to work every day to solve problems and build cool digital things.
I’ve loved digital stuff since I was a child and I think it’ll stay with me until I die.
I also happen to believe that I’m pretty good at this stuff. And so are my colleagues at Twentyfour. We solve actual problems every day and we make other businesses better at what they do – by being good at what we do.
We’re not center stage and we’re not winning awards or Nobel prizes, but we serve the people that do. We work in the shadows so that everyone else can do what they do best.
We’re pretty much like the Batman of business.
How cool is that?
Anyway – if you’ve read this far I have to thank you. I initialised my blog post by shaming bullshit why’s and corporate crap – and here I am calling us the Batman of business.
Anyway – I’ll go back to some real talk now. Apologies for the metaphor. As you’ve read this far you now know my train of thought as I’ve tried to figure out our mission at Twentyfour.
Just recently we created a new management team – and this new management team has been discussing our mission for a while.
We decided to just call it a mission and simply disregard the distinction between missions, visions, strategies and such. We don’t really see this as being helpful so we’ve just made 1 mission statement – and that’s it.
Our mission (with my awesome comments in parenthesis afterwards).
We solve problems for our customers by developing, integrating and maintaining complex systems and websites. (That’s even what the front page of our website literally says!).
We do this by providing our team with the tools, challenges and colleagues needed in order to solve interesting problems and enjoy their day-to-day with as little unnecessary stress as possible while we grow our business areas and transition to become primarily driven by recurring revenue. (Pretty cool, right?)
This way we can work our best with the customers, projects and products that are the right match. (So yeah – that means we want to choose who we do business with!).
That’s it. That’s our mission. Read it again if it doesn’t make sense.
Below we’ve broken the mission down in bullets for those of you who prefer easy, scannable text in bullets.
The focus areas
If our mission above seems a bit too fluffy, then we’ve broken it down into 5 specific bullets below.
1: We dream of being able to run a software company with the most interesting clients, tasks and the best team in the world.
2: Transition our company to become primarily driven by recurring revenue so we can work with the right customers, projects and products.
3: Provide people working in Twentyfour with the tools, challenges and colleagues needed in order to solve interesting problems and enjoy their day-to-day with as little stress as possible.
4: Maintain our market share in our existing project-based business and increase the quality of our deliveries.
5: Grow our business by selling projects (typically websites, webshops and various complex systems), products, hosting, maintenance and integrations.