THERE ARE TIMES when it’s good to step back outside my business.

A great example is the discussion I had with someone this week, where we were talking about the larger picture around our country.

Despite all the anxiety this last year has produced, I find that we still have an amazing and unique form of government.  It’s not perfect by any means, but I have deep respect for something which has lasted well over 200 years.

In particular, it’s an incredible example of what happens when people align around a set of powerful values and strong mission.  You end up with a complex system where the culture helps keep it on track.

It’s going to be a truly exceptional business which could last over 100 years, let alone 200.  But that’s OK; it’s not necessarily a businesses’ mission to last forever.  In that sense, a country is quite different.

But we can learn from the formation of a sense of common purpose for who we are as a society.  Do we all agree what that is?  No – but it’s important we talk about those differences.

And that sense of mission and purposes causes you to create a structure which is self-sustaining.  If you’re about amazing customer service, then you select, train and measure employees differently than others.

If you’re about technological leadership over the long term, then I’ll see an organization that looks much different than one which focuses in a different area.

THAT is why things like mission statements are important.  Because they capture and steer who you really are.

They’re the heart and soul.