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  1. Creation of a Family Mission Statement - Specimen & Process
  2. GPS Failed
  3. Writing a Family Mission Statement

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Thanks for subscribing! The first reference I found to a family manifesto was in Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families , which was published in A management consultant from Utah with a Harvard MBA, Covey often asked his corporate clients to write a one-sentence answer to the question, "What is the essential mission or purpose of this organization, and what is its main strategy in accomplishing that purpose? Covey then helped them create a more unified mission statement. Covey's innovation was to encourage families to do something similar and create a family mission statement.

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What makes them good is they have a clear destination in mind, and they have a flight plan to get there. As a result, when they face the inevitable turbulence and human error, they keep coming back to their plan.

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Covey and his wife asked their kids a series of questions, including "What makes you want to come home? Finally they ended up with their single sentence. I had a range of reactions on reading this. On the one hand, I found the whole thing a little corny. It seemed cumbersome, heavy-handed, and a tad humorless.

On the other hand, I kinda loved the idea. I'm corny!

I also thought Covey's idea captured something inherently true: How can we ask our children to uphold our family's values if we never articulate what those values are? Around this time my wife, Linda, came home complaining about some branding problem she was having at work.

Creation of a Family Mission Statement - Specimen & Process

Linda co-founded and runs an organization called Endeavor that supports high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. For years, she worked with branding gurus on Madison Avenue who help the organization identify its central mission and core values. It was a powerful, even emotional, process for everyone. That's when it hit me: What if we tried something similar with our family?

How And Why To Create A Family Mission, Vision And Value Statement - Personal Mission Statement

What if we tried to create our own brand, so to speak? Linda pointed out that brands have an external purpose families don't exactly have. We weren't selling running shoes, after all. But brands also have an internal purpose.

GPS Failed

All successful human organizations have a duality to them, Collins told me. They "preserve the core while stimulating progress. Collins coached us through the process. We started with the family equivalent of a corporate retreat, a pajama party with our daughters. I made popcorn. My wife brought a flipchart. I had assembled a list of 80 values, from agility to zest, taken from books about psychology, management, and education.

We discussed which ones applied to us. Discipline is great, but a core family value? We might come to regret that.

Writing a Family Mission Statement

Then we asked a series of questions. What words best describe our family? What are our strengths as a family? What would you like others to say about our family? Finally we voted on a single statement taken from a remark I made when they were born : "May our first word be adventure and our last word love.