Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Does Your Business Have A Constitution To Guide It?

It ever ceases to amaze me how many of my clients come to me with an opportunity that has presented itself to them and ask me what I would do. And no matter how many times I tell them my "pat" answer, they look at me dumbfounded.

I tell them, "It doesn't matter what I would do - does it? What matters is what you SHOULD do."

Needless to say, I rarely answer my clients . . . directly. I don't believe that is my job. In fact, I believe my responsibility is to help them find the answer within themselves. Or, at least, show them how to find it. And, besides being the right thing to do, I like to watch them squirm as I walk them through the process of answering the question themselves.

The truth is that not every opportunity is worth pursuing. You have to pick the opportunities that lead you down the same path you are on or desire to be on (or one that is very close to the one you are on), or you will find yourself drifting every which way but the right way.

So, what do I do to help them find their own answers? It's simple, I ask them to follow the same procedures that every business owner (non-business owner for that matter) should use to make an important decision - I ask them what they want, and then ask them how the solution to their new found opportunity can help support that . . . or not.

However, I don't let them tell me what they want - from the top of their head. Instead I make them pull out their Mission Statement, their Vision and their Commitments (or core values) and I make them read those words - out loud.

The reason these documents are so important is because they are the "constitution" of your business - they are the foundation of what you are and what your trying to create. They aren't just words that I made them write when I started working with them, they are the reason a business exists and what it is all about - just as the Constitution of our country defines the Mission, Vision and Core Value of our country.

Furthermore, these documents answer the questions, "What do I do?", Why do I do it", and "How do I do it?" But more importantly, they are the answers that you decided on, in the absence of stress - or opportunity trying to sway you in a different direction. And they were written down so that you could use them for just this reason - to measure against and give yourself a standard for everything that you do.

When used in this manner, the words in these documents are actually the guiding light to help you find your way in any situation.

Peter Drucker said, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Your Mission Statement, Vision, and Commitments are the documents that will help you decide what the right things are.

So, if you are struggling with your business (or even with life, for that matter), I suggest that, first, before you take one more step, create your own constitution. Write your own Mission, Vision and Commitments. Find out how powerful these documents are in helping you create the business you want.

If you have any questions on how to write your own Mission, Vision, and Commitments, please feel free to contact me directly at, I will send you a Free PDF Handout that will walk you through the process.


  1. great post JJ. Reminding us all of the importance of FOCUS

  2. What's this about liking to "watch them squirm?" Hmm, seeing a whole different perspective on things now! lol

    I like the way you help people, like myself, figure things out for themselves because you know that you can't really tell anyone anything anyway.

    Sometimes that "uncomfortable feeling" is the answer to the question...



  3. A Scot in London,

    I'm so very glad that you connected with my words. It is very important to understand the power behind having focus on what you are doing and why you are doing it.