Our firm’s office lease was due to expire in about six months, so we began the process of evaluating new office space. I distinctly remember walking into a vacant space that we were considering. The space had a reception area that had lock-off functionality from the main office. The real estate broker knew that we had this on our spec list so he was pointing out the virtues of the lock-off entrance. As he was opening and closing the door that created the secure separation, I inquired about the plaque behind the door.

The broker got a puzzled look on his face and asked what I was referring to. I said, “The plaque on the wall, behind the door. What does it say?”

It seems that the previous tenant had forgotten to grab the plaque that proudly displayed their vision statement, mission statement and company values. They had invested time and energy at some point in their history to define these cornerstones of their firm.

I wondered, did they miss them?

Had they used the move as a time to update the plaque, make it more prominent, reinforce its importance and reemphasize its vitality to the success of their organization? Or, was it merely a “check the box” exercise that didn’t create a true north nor deliver significant value – easily forgotten and left behind during the move?

I’m guessing the latter. It’s been my experience over the years that few firms leverage the importance of an effective statement of purpose, mission and values as a living, breathing part of their organization’s success and impact DNA. My experience has been that business owners and exec teams create these but rarely do they become the foundation for defining who they are and who they’re not, where they’re going, and how they will get there, who they hire and who they pass on. The behaviors they tolerate from their people and the behavioral non-negotiables.

Sadly, it’s just window dressing.

Do you have such a declaration? Is it dynamic or static? Does it have a life or is it behind the door? Out-front or left behind? Does it REALLY help you say yes and-or no to opportunities that may come your way?

I still have the plaque containing that firm’s vision, mission, and values.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you think you may have forgotten or lost yours.

Drew Hiss
Post by Drew Hiss
October 19, 2018
Drew Hiss launched his outsourced payroll and HR technology solutions company, Checkdate Solutions, in 1994. The entrepreneurial venture was a classic bootstrap start-up whose launch plan underestimated capital needs and ramp up time by significant multiples. The adventure predictably included scrapping for cash, overhauling the business model, rebranding, refocusing, redirecting resources, shifting tech platforms, praying, seeking counsel and wisdom, etc.. Not surprisingly, deep entrepreneurial scar tissue was forged. Ultimately Checkdate Solutions became one of Kansas City’s fastest growing companies and was named one of the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce Best Businesses not once, but twice. Additionally, Checkdate Solutions ranked as one of KC’s top 100 fastest growing companies for nine consecutive years and was in the top 25 nationally in its industry. Today’s workplace culture tends to compartmentalize personal virtues from commerce, creating silos and compartmentalization between business, family, community, values and faith. But as a CEO, Drew and his company grew when he “decompartmentalized:” on his journey, he learned to integrate his life of commerce and his life of family, faith and values. Drew merged Checkdate Solutions with payroll industry leader Paycor, stepping away from the company in 2008 and serving on its board for eight years. Drew remains an owner in the firm. Today, Drew’s heart to help business owners leverage the influence of their business platform for eternal impact is at the core of Acumen which he founded late in 2015. Acumen is a catalytic iron-sharpening-iron environment forged from the fiery furnace of entrepreneurial battle, marketplace survival and integration of the timeless wisdom of the ages. Drew and his wife, Sarah have been married for 32 years and have four children (plus two beautiful daughters in law) ranging in age from 28 to 22. In early 2020, Drew and Sarah relocated to Evergreen, CO, He is a raving-fan congregant of Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette, CO, and enjoys snowboarding, hunting, cycling, hiking, and a variety of outdoor activities and adventures including running with his two dogs.

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