Do You Have a Mission Statement?
One of the most fundamental keys to the success of your life, agribusiness venture or farm is your mission statement. While it may seem to be a waste of time up front, it will become the driving force leading to success if you will devote the necessary time to creating one. It is common for folks in agriculture to spend so much time 'shoveling manure' that there simply is not enough time or energy for management and long term planning. Time devoted to the creation of a mission statement will be wrought with frustration, mental exhaustion and deep meditation. The results, however, will make it all worthwhile! The process is not complicated. You need to answer the following two questions:

What are we (am I) about?

What are our (my) values?

It should be apparent at this point; that you really need two or three mission statements, one for yourself, one for your business and one for your family. When all three are in place and aligned, you will find real success as you are now creating your future rather than just hoping it will all turn out fine. Increased profitability, greater happiness and sense of achievement, are just a few of the benefits. Here are some ideas to get started.
When it comes to developing your personal mission statement, the following exercise may be helpful. While this exercise seem slightly morbid at the outset, it may cause you to think about the things that you will want to include. Picture yourself in your coffin, your family is there, and your friends are filing by (in my case, both of them). You are up in the corner watching the procession and listening. What do you want them to say about you at that point? How do you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave behind? Write down the list. Then list those things that you give greatest value in your life. The goal here is to develop a very short statement, so you will need to condense a great deal of thought into a few statements, in some cases it may only be one statement, i.e. "assisting those around me to reach their highest potential". Your mission may be slightly longer, but keep it short and create it to last a lifetime.

The development of your family mission statement will bring significant rewards in unity, functionality and happiness. You may get a few strange looks when you call the family together and ask each member to tell what they think your family is about and what they think your family values should be, but do it and hang in there until there is a brief written statement hanging on the wall in your family room!

A mission statement for your business is the single greatest component to success. It doesn't matter if you are selling groceries, raising goats, milking cows or consulting. A mission statement will lead and guide owners, management and employees in the day to day operations that will ultimately determine the position and success of the business. A example may help clarify. In 1929, a business that is now on the Fortune 500 list was beginning to examine their future. Their number one product in 1929 was paper window shades. All of the employees were brought together and asked to answer the two key questions for a mission statement. In response to the question, what are we about, they received numerous answers including, window decoration, heat retention, privacy, light control and home beautification. After several meetings of heated discussion, they chose light control and developed their mission statement around that core. Can you guess what their number one product is in 2002? Most will guess mini blinds and while that is a great guess it is not correct. Their number one product today is dimmer switches. How do you get from paper window shades to dimmer switches and not only stay in business for 70 years, but also make it to the Fortune 500? A mission statement about light control! Pay the price to develop a quality mission statement that you feel passionate about. The goal here again is to develop a short precise statement that will inspire and provide direction to everyone involved in the business including your customers. Once you have developed your mission statement, publish it! Put it where everyone can see it, after all the purpose is to direct daily decision making. In future articles we will deal with integrating your mission statements into the daily roles of management and leadership. If you have questions or need help contact us by email at or by phone at 435-336-7000.

Tom and Carrie Boyer are both consultants who also have a ranch where they raise Boer goats and Rambouillet sheep. Their mission statement is, "Providing leadership in genetic advancement in the sheep and meat goat industries and assisting those with whom we work to reach their highest potential in profitability and enjoyment of life".

Boyer Land and Livestock
Tom, Carrie & Maren Boyer
Coalville, Utah