Mission: Possible


If you don’t know where you’re going, you probably won’t wind up there. Before you can build a team environment, you must first decide on the team mission – where do you want it to go? What do you want it to do? By defining a clear team mission, you show employees their place in the big picture. And by outlining goals to help them achieve the team mission, you give them something to shoot for together.

Setting Your Team Mission and Goals

Defining a team’s mission and goals is a process that starts with your operation’s overall “mission.” What are you in business for? Well, let’s be honest … it’s to make money. While everyone wants to believe they’re in business to provide a product or service that customers need, there probably isn’t a company on the planet that isn’t in it for financial gain. So your operation’s mission is to be profitable. How do you do that? For most businesses in the service industry, it’s by minimizing waste while providing quality products and service that create customer loyalty.

Once you have your broad company mission, use that to define a mission — or purpose — for each team. A team without a common mission will wander from task to task despite the best team-building efforts. A team mission should have a “pie-in-the-sky” quality — something they’ll have to continue to strive for every day.

When you begin to build your teams, ask for their help in defining the problems that keep them from achieving their mission: What specific hurdles keep profitability low and prevent customers from coming back? Inconsistent quality and poor customer service are the primary culprits.

Now have members use those problem statements to develop a list of do-able team goals, like “Increase add-on food sales,” “Minimize mistakes,” “Provide great service” or “Reduce waste.” Work together to attach milestones to each. For example “Reduce mistakes by 10 percent in the next month.” Or “Increase sales by 10 percent in the next month.” Or “Minimize customer complaints by 10 percent in the next month.”

Team Buy In for Your Mission

How do you motivate employee team members to stay focused on the goals that support your mission? You’ll have the most success if goals are:

  • Stated positively
  • Specific and concrete
  • Realistic and attainable
  • Measurable
  • Set with the cooperation of the people involved

Team Training on Your Mission

You team members can’t work toward achieving team goals if they aren’t trained on the specific concepts, skills, and tasks that are necessary for success. Training fosters teamwork, and teamwork reinforces employee training.  

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