EP 017

Your Business Is More Than the Work You Do

When someone asks what you do for work, it's easy to talk about the tasks you work on, but do you ever stop to talk about your company's mission? What problems you solve? The work you do is not necessarily your mission, but it's vital to communicate your mission effectively to your employees so they can take that mission into account when making decisions and ultimately work towards a shared goal.

In episode 17 of the Make Others Successful podcast where Emma, Matt, and Mike dive into the importance of defining your business' mission and how vital it is to communicate said mission to your employees effectively for overall greater success.

Episode Links
Hosted By
Matt Dressel
Emma Allport, CSM
Mike Bodell
Produced By
Emma Allport, CSM
Edited By
Eric Veeneman
Music By
Eric Veeneman


Emma (00:05):

Welcome back, everyone to make others successful, our podcast where we aim to make you successful in your workplace, and in turn, cascade that down, and then make others successful, and then make others successful, and so on and so on. So today we've got Matt and Mike at the round table, and we've got a new topic for you. Matt, what are we going to be talking about?

Matt (00:26):

Yeah, so today we're without Mitch this time, and so Mike and I are kind of get to make up what we want to talk about, and we kind of talked about a little bit, and we're going through a lot of transition in our organization related to mapping what our employees are doing day to day to the broader mission and focus of our organization. And we think that that's really important both for us individually, but also what we try to help other organizations do through the use of technology, right? As a business, we are really focused on trying to help other organizations deliver on their mission by leveraging technology effectively,

Mike (01:05):

Right? Yeah. So we're a very technology focused team. That's where our expertise, our skillsets reside. But I think our objective today is to really talk about and articulate how that technology focus relates to what really matters. Yep.

Matt (01:20):

Right? So let's get into it. So first of all, like when we, when we talk about that and the reason we feel pretty strongly that the mission of an organization is really important to be communicated effectively, and that means a lot of different things. It can mean com actual the communication, making sure you're delivering it to people, but also making sure you have one and making sure that it's relevant to what you're doing. And the reason that is so important is because no matter the size of your organization, but especially in a larger organization, you need people to make decisions within your organization, somewhat independent of you, right? If you have to make a, if, if you know someone at the tops, you know, a senior leader needs to make every decision, you're not gonna make it very far. But you also want those decisions to be focused on delivering on an outcome that makes sense for your organization.


Uh, and you know, that outcome is, needs to be tied to that mission, that vision, that focus, and that can be challenging. And for us, we're gonna talk about it in the context of us. You know, we've been on a journey since we started our, this organization, uh, in what we do, what our purpose is, where we're going. And even right now to today, we're in the process of working on some n you know, a deeper level of that, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we recognize we've done, you know, if you know anything about our organization, you know, we started, you know, as a purely consulting organization, Mike and I were the consultants doing stuff. And now we're, we've moved into a model where we're really focused more on, uh, you know, not just Matt and Mike doing some technology to really talking about stuff that Mike and I have done naturally forever. But it's more focused on transformation in an organization and leveraging technology to transform your organization. But then how do you communicate to that new, to new

Mike (03:13):

People? So let's provide a very specific example that relates to us, and that is like, we have a mission to make others successful, right? Part of the point of this podcast and this discussion, and as part of that, we try to measure every year how many more people we've made successful, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that's how many relationships we have, how many organizations we've touched, how many people are involved in those things, right? We've been able to participate in, and at some level, we want everybody on our team to be able to be focused like singly on that mission and be doing things that are moving us all toward that shared goal, right? And so some of the things that we do, like produce blog content or YouTube videos or this podcast, right, are aimed toward outreach, right? Reaching more people Yep. Which is gonna help to make more people successful, right? Expands our ability to impact the world in that way. And so it's important for us that our people understand and know that we're writing blog posts for that reason. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? It's not just a, a tool for lead generation, for example, right? It's actually we're trying to reach more people in the world and make overall human experience as it pertains to work and technology better across the board.

Matt (04:30):

And, and to take it one step further, we're not just making podcasts on whatever topic you might wanna make it on. Uh, we're making podcasts that deliver on the, our goal, right? Which has a technology focus, but it's also on organizational change, on modern workplace, on transformation, on, on these things, right? And so that can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people, but giving that focus and, and being clear about what we're trying to do can help people focus those podcasts and blogs and all of those things on topics that really are, are, are, you know, laser focused on that goal, right? It makes doing a podcast or doing a, a blog article about a new admin setting in, in, you know, office 365 admin center, not super valuable unless you add in the flavor of why that's important for organizational change, right? Right, right. Like, oh, there's this new feature, there's this new component, and here's what it can mean to how you can better use technology. Right? And that's the, that is part of what we're going through is trying to help articulate better to everyone, both internally and externally, what our principles are, right? What, you know, we aren't just about, you know, communication and collaboration, we're about communication or collaboration in a specific way. We're not just about doing custom development or business apps development. We're about doing it in this way for this purpose, right?

Mike (05:59):

So in our particular mission in that example, right? We talked about like what that is and how important it is that everybody is pulling the rope in the same direction, right? And so our focus with other organizations, or with things like YouTube videos and things like that, is how do we help you leverage the technology and those tools that are available today in the modern workplace so that you can effectively communicate that mission and get your team aligned, right? Yeah. Because ultimately the goal, like a business, any business has a goal of revenue profit, right? All that you have to, if you're not, some people say, if you're not growing, you're dying, right? So you have that as a central thing. So you gotta have a way to tie all of that up to that goal, but ultimately there's a probably a more important mission for your business, right?


Yeah. Making others successful as ours, you know, helping people in, in a variety of ways, right? And connect, connecting that all together in a hierarchical way. You talked about like people making decisions at different, uh, like steps in the organization or different levels in the organization. You can't do that unless everybody at each level of the organization understands the decision that they're making and how it impacts or rolls up to how it fits that hierarchical system of goals that you have. Um, and so that's why it's important. So one of the ways, as I was just speaking about that we help organizations do that, is how do you communicate effectively to your team? How do you get everybody aligned? Can you use technology to do that? Yeah. Right? And how do you do it effectively?

Matt (07:21):

So the next thing I'll say is that like, uh, you talked about profit, about revenue and all those things, and then the oftentimes the what go, people go, the next goal is, you know, we make sprinkler heads for fire, fire suppression. That's, that's our mission. Probably not like that. Yes. That is part of it. Like that is the category of thing that you're doing, but you know, is your, is your reason for doing that? Because you know why? Like, what is that thing? Right?

Mike (07:47):

That's a, that's an easy one for me, right? I look at that and they're like, you're saving lives. Yeah. Right? There's not much higher calling than that. Yeah. That's really great. Which,

Matt (07:53):

Which, if that is the thing you communicate, it creates a scenario where your employees are gonna be raising things that are really focused on helping to do that better in whatever way they can within that space. Right? Right. And there's lots of different ways, you know, there's other examples, but you know, whether or not you're in the furniture business, whether or not you're in the, you know, whatever business you're in, making that into the thing that's one level deeper at least mm-hmm. <affirmative> that is like, this is the reason why we're doing all of this stuff. Right. And, and you know, the other thing that is, you know, if you're listening to, to this and you're going, you may be going, wow, that sounds really great, but you know, not everything I do is gonna fit under this, you know, you know, ethereal or abstract thing that you're trying to do.


And the thing I would say is, yeah, you're right. Not everything you do is always tied back to that thing, but if you're making a choice between, I can do two different things and one supports it and one doesn't, and they, everything else is equal. Like, you want someone to be able to go, that's the one I should choose, because that's where we're headed. Right? Right. You know, there's lots of reasons people can choose to different, different stuff, and it's okay if not everything you're doing is all, you know, going to that thing. But in an ideal world, everything is,

Mike (09:03):

So there's, there's two sides of that, right? One is, if you don't have the ability to communicate effectively about that, you know, what the goals are and how they all fit together, you can very easily get yourself into chaos because people don't know what to choose, right? Yep. Even if, like you said, some choices aren't always wrong, right? Yeah. There are, there are limitations and there is freedom within that. But if you haven't clearly articulated that people are completely lost and you have chaos and it's a mess. Yeah. Whereas if you have clearly articulated, the beauty of that is you can actually share responsibility and distribute it and push it down, and that will actually empower your people. Yeah. Which in turn makes them feel better about what they're doing. It makes them feel more valued. Yep. It will overall improve their work experience and, and like, they will really be connected to your mission.

Matt (09:52):

Let me give you a contrived example, right? A little bit. So back to the fire suppression system, right? So you have an employee who's, you know, been in the space for maybe 10 years or something, or, or maybe they're brand new and they have a new idea about how to do this in a different way. You know, if they don't understand in this different way, you know, it can add, improve the safety of people by, you know, some percentage, right? Like it's, it's really a revolutionary thing, right? They may never say anything because they may think this organization is just about making the same thing they made year after year. Why would I say anything I might get yelled at, why would I invest the time to try to promote that thing Yeah. To this organization that doesn't care about this. Yeah. Right? But if you're clear that this is our mission and explain to me how it drives the mission, it's like, yeah, okay, let's have that conversation, right?


And now you're sitting on a brand new product idea that's revolutionary in the market that maybe you do wanna invest a bunch of time, money, and energy into. But the reason it happened is because someone felt, yes, I know what we're trying to do, and I found something that is appropriate to do it. And that's, that's, that's only one example. There are a ton of other ones, and the classic one you and I have talked about in the past is, you know, especially in a larger organization where you have middle managers, uh, you know, they, unless they are able to see what, you know, understand that process, it can be very difficult for them to make choices and to support the people below them or report to the people above them without feeling like, you know, they're gonna get their head, you know, bitten off if they make the wrong choice, or Yeah. They make, you know, where a lot of that stuff comes from. There's culture pieces of it. But another piece of it is, if I don't clearly know, have some guidance about how to make a choice based on my, my best judgment about what will get us to where we need to go, what am I there for?

Mike (11:44):

Well, and that's one of the biggest problems. You talk about middle managers, and you think about large corporations, I think about like publicly traded companies, right? Yeah. Or large government entities, right? Where often the mission is very cloudy. Yeah. Right. Or there's a conflict of some sort. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, I care about the shareholders more than I care about saving lives, for example. The minute that you have that problem, it makes it nearly impossible for someone in a middle management role to make any kind of a bold choice right. In, in either direction. So they do nothing. So the people below them get disenfranchised and frustrated Yep. And leave, right? Yep. Or do poor, poor work, right? Yep. And we've experienced that directly ourselves in, in a previous life. But that's one of the unfortunate things about, you know, some of the larger entities that, that exist today, is that they have that conflict of mission or direction, and it makes for an overall rather poor experience from an employee standpoint.

Matt (12:41):

Yep. And just to be clear, you're like, we're not, we're not experts in this. Like we're, this is something we're figuring out. And the topic, the reason we're talking about it today is that, you know, for us, you know, another aspect to this is these things that we're talking about change over time, relatively for, for various reasons, lots of different reasons, right? Some, because, you know, the business has made a choice, because the market changes because the people change. You know, there's lots of different reasons. But, you know, we, you know, individually for us, uh, you know, like we've said, especially in the past probably three years, it's been just constantly evolving and changing and improving and, you know, we we're really happy with where we're headed. I think, you know, we've got some stuff that we're working on that I think is really good.


We're excited about that even further clarifies and improves that's we're talking about for our organization, but it changes. And so having a way to be effective to recognize that it should change or that it is changing and being, having an effective way to communicate it and translate that into what your employees and what your organization should be doing about it, is really, really important. And for us, it's really, it's really relevant to us today, right? Just because that's what we're doing. And that's, that's, you know, like I said, we're not experts in all of that. Yeah. Like, other than, you know, we've been around the block, we've seen stuff at Fortune 500 companies, at large governmental organizations, right? Like, we've seen a lot of this stuff, but really for us, it's really time relevant because we're working through this, all this stuff internally right now. Yeah.

Mike (14:17):

And I think one of the things like, at least for me that I've come to realize in the last year or so, is that above all else, the human experience is probably the most valuable thing in the universe, right? Uh, and, you know, a lot of people say, you know, you can't take it with you when you go, like, what, what things, what value do things really have? And really understanding that the human experience and that shared experience. So things that we do together right, in our journey, you know, through the universe are the most valuable things that exist. Uh, that gives me kind of a bit of a fire in my belly to try to figure out how to make that the, that I can for people that work with me, for people that work for me, for people that I work for. Yeah. Right? That, like, that is the thing that matters, right? When you talk about like leaving a mark on the world, like at the end of the day, that's the stuff that's gonna really matter. And so I love that that is like, connected to the mission that we have, which is all about people. Yep. And I think that's like, just hugely important, and I think that's gonna be a big game changer for us.

Matt (15:16):

Yeah. Yeah. And it's, for us, I think, uh, right now we're figuring we're working on how to communicate that effectively and document that and effectively deliver that to people. And I also think that that's something that people don't spend enough time thinking about or caring about. Oftentimes at organizations, there's, you know, maybe a marketing engine that's behind it, or, you know, some big presentation that a CEO gives, et cetera. But, uh, it, it has to be more, it has to be, you know, having an hour long, you know, teams meeting or, or Zoom meeting where you're presenting a PowerPoint and then it's done and nobody can get access to the PowerPoint. There's no other content. People aren't talking about it. Again, you don't have, you don't have people in ingraining, in ingraining that into their daily activity, right? Like, it's one of like our shirts, like the, and the, and this, right?


Like, we came out with those values, and I liked the shirts, I wanted the shirts, et cetera. I never thought about it because to do it, because of the impact it would have about people knowing it. But quite frankly, that's why people in our organization still say it today. Yeah. It's not because you and I sat up in one meeting and went, Hey, this is our thing. It's because it's on our t-shirts and it's on, like, we're talking about it in the office and we're doing, like, there's more to it than just that PowerPoint. Right? Yeah. You know, I say that, you know, I don't know if everybody realizes it, but we, we've been working to try to create a t-shirt for all of our values. Um, so we've got fail forward, we've got make others successful. Embrace the unknown, embrace the unknown right now. Yeah. Like we're, we're doing more than just presenting it. We're trying to provide ways that it's a talking point beyond just that PowerPoint and that Yeah. Presentation that we did at a quarterly update.

Mike (17:06):

Yeah. I get, you know, I, when I, whenever I wear a make other successful shirt, I get comments from random people Yeah. About that shirt all the time. Like, oh, I love your shirt. Which is kind of cool. Yeah. <laugh>, it's kind of neat. Like, where does that come from? Where'd you get that, right? Yep. It's kind of a fun thing to talk about. So I think the thing maybe to, we could talk about a little bit more would be removing the impediments, getting the things out of the way that are stopping your people from having a better shared experience toward your highest attainable goal, right? Like, whatever that is for your organization. Like you've established where you're trying to go, we've established our mission to make others successful, right? And so our, one of our purposes when, like when we say make others successful, like if you talk about like how we apply tech to the problem, right?


We are all about looking at other organizations and figuring out how to remove the barriers, break down the walls so that the people in your organization are working shoulder to shoulder, having a great shared experience toward achieving your highest attainable goal, right? The thing that's at the top of your pyramid, so to speak. And so that's like what we love to do, right? Like, so that's one of the reasons when we involve ourselves in an organization, in any kind of project, we wanna understand the why. Yeah. We wanna know why they exist. What is your mission, right? Because we need to understand that so that we can really understand what we need to break down to get all of your people on the same page, or to make recommendations for you that are gonna impact that, that are gonna make a difference, right? To get people focused in a singular direction, all pulling the rope in the same direction.


But one of the beautiful things about, once you have that clarity, once you've built that, once you've removed impediments and everybody understands what the goals are, and they understand where they fit and that they have responsibility, they can own something, they're empowered, right? I think one of the most beautiful things about that is you can actually understand where you're going. You can do something every day that moves you in that direction. And every time you do that, you get a little bit of joy, right? Yeah. And that's, that's one of the, that's the best thing. And there is about human experience, is that joy. And if I can share that joy with you in our journey to that shared goal, right? That's even better. And so that's like, that is the thing that we are trying to enable, like, as an organization, that's where I feel like that's what I'm pushing for. That's where I want to go. And so, to me, that's really where the impact is. And if all of that's happening, like I think it's very hard to not be successful as an organization.

Matt (19:31):

Yeah. Well there's always, there's always the, you know, you make something that the market doesn't like, there's a whole market end of it. But quite frankly, the whole point is if you have something that's bigger that you're trying to do, like for example, like back to the, the, you know, fire suppression system, right? If the market's moving away from the current fire suppression system that you're doing, come up with a different one that where go where it's going.

Mike (19:55):

So look at scenarios like Apple or Yeah. Tesla for example. Like I, you could look at either one of those cases and be like, ah, electric cars, you're never gonna make it work there Too expensive. You can't charge 'em fast enough. They can't go far enough. Like you're crazy. Yep. Right? And so to your point about like, you could always make something the market doesn't want, I think we don't know. But the reality is Elon Musk could be creating a market. Oh, he,

Matt (20:18):


Mike (20:19):

They, because he has that vision, right? There's definitely,

Matt (20:21):

That's But to be clear exactly what you're saying, in order to be able to do that, you have to have that vision. That's right. And you have to have that focus. Yep. For, so it's an interesting thing that you raise, which is that those types of organizations will naturally have them to start with, right? Yeah. Like initially, naturally they'll just be there, right? Yeah. Like they got it as they grow and do different things that may change and they may lose it, right? People can lose it.

Mike (20:43):

Right? That's where the conflict gets, gets introduced, right? Yeah.

Matt (20:45):

Yeah. Yeah. You know, when you have a founder that is passionate and focused and then, you know, they get old, they retire, they go on to some, they do something else, whatever fired it is, they, they, yeah. Or they sell the company or whatever that is. Yeah. You know, you may lose some of that same thing. And then the other thing I was gonna mention, cuz you were talking about like what it is down there, we've been talking very much, very, very much like high level or like, or like that everybody's job needs to fit. And it, you may get the impression that we're saying, you know, everybody has to look at what they're doing and, and see how it can transform a business. Uh, not necessarily, not really, right? Like everybody who's doing a job at an organization is, is contributing to that, generally speaking, even if they're, what they're doing isn't, uh, you know, uh, overtly in that capacity, right? Like we have a marketing team that's helping us and we have people that like, they're not, what they're doing day to day isn't what

Mike (21:43):

They're different from what you and I would do, right?

Matt (21:45):

Yeah. It's not the actual transformation, but they're equally as important. Like they're, they're, you know, the thing I want them to get out of it is be like, okay, cool. When I'm looking at the content that we're producing, I want them to be able to be like, Hey, you could make this better by doing this. Right? Right. You could do this better by doing this. Right? Like, they have that same thing, but it's, it's just not the same. It's not in the same way. Right? And that's honestly some of the hardest part, right? When you talk about people who are, are passionate and doing, you know, in a product group, right? Somebody who's developing product, you know, the people who, the product manager, et cetera, it's easy for them to map all this stuff out. The person who's, you know, building a thing on the line or a a person who's, you know, you know, repairing something.


Like if you're, if you're in a facilities situation where you're maintaining facilities, right? Somebody who's repairing the plumbing in a facility, you know, maybe harder for them to map that back. But that's the hard part that you've gotta do. That's why you need the communication. That's why you need the, the expression, we talked about it actually earlier where in some of our custom development and, and business apps solutions, right? Somebody can come to us and be like, I need this, I need this, this, this system that, so that does this, right? Uh, and they may go, the reason I need that is because it takes me too long to do so and so, so do this thing, right? We, exactly what you said before about wanting to understand the why, we wanna understand the why because that helps us determine how best to make that better, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because we want to, cuz there is something underneath there, which is the why that it's actually important to their mission, to their focus, to their goal, right? So whatever that is, so

Mike (23:28):

Why do you need to save time?

Matt (23:30):

Yeah. Why do you, why do you need to save time? What's your reasoning behind that? And in some cases it'll be, we went from two P two, you know, one customer, two customers to a hundred, right? And

Mike (23:40):

So I can focus more on, so I can focus more on customer relationship. Why do you need to focus more on customer relationship? Yeah. Yep. Because I need to drive more business, right? Why do you need to drive more? Because I have a revenue goal, right? Yep. All of those things all roll up. Yep,

Matt (23:51):

Yep, yep. And, and it's, and it's, you know, we're talking a lot about us and like, yes, it's important for us, but it's also really important you can take those same principles in that same philosophy to every organization and apply it and fig help to figure that out so that you can find that purpose and that goal that you're all striving for so that you can figure out what you're gonna communicate, figure out how to be effective at these things, right?

Mike (24:18):

Yeah. And that's that thing that we're just talking about right there. We've, we've done that forever. We've always done that. Yeah. And that's one of the things that I love about what we do and how we do it, as opposed to I'm just a really smart guy that knows how to use Yeah. SharePoint or knows how to write some she c sharp there. There's a huge difference there. And like, I love writing code, like we had some of the best times we've ever had in our lives competing writing code right? Back in the good old college days. But I think for me, like, it's like I'm much more intentional about the mission in, in terms of, you know, the maturity and understanding like greater impact on the world. And that's why I love what we do and the way we do it,

Matt (25:00):

It's a little bit different approach than, than some organizations, but it's not the right approach for everybody, right? Like, I mean, well I think

Mike (25:07):

Everybody's, I think it's the right approach.

Matt (25:08):

If it may not be the right approach, it's the right approach for us, it might not be the right approach for everybody, right? Like people who, it's a perfect example actually. Like we know organizations that have a mission that is way more technology focused. They're evangelizing a technology. They have, they are in love with the technology, a particular technology, and that is what their, their mission is, right? Uh, we are taking a little bit different approach and focused more on the organization and the people and yes, we have a technology stack that we generally use and we are best suited for organizations that are using that technology. Yeah. But that is not our, that's not where we're going, right? Yeah. I I'm not trying to get you to use this technology because I am bought into the technology, right? I'm trying to solve your problem and this just happens to be a technology that we're using,

Mike (26:02):

Right? So, so the way that we solve the problems is our, is more missional and tech, the technology for us is more of the, the pragmatic side of

Matt (26:11):

Things that means to an end,

Mike (26:12):

What, like what are we gonna use to solve this? Yeah. And in that way, you're right, we will be fairly agnostic if, and we've talked about it before, if something makes sense for you to buy an off the shelf product versus build it yourself, we'll tell you to do that. Right? I

Matt (26:25):

Just had a conversation with somebody today who is like, we want you, we want you to quote, do this thing in, in, in powerhouses power automate, right? And I'm like, okay, tell me about it. What's, like, have you talked about any condition, you know, COTS solutions? Have you? Like, what have you done? Because Yeah. You know, unless you're like, already saying for sure that you wanna do custom it, maybe it's not the right choice. Like Yeah. Yeah. We shouldn't start from that position. So. Yep. Uh, it's really interesting. It's, this is a very interesting topic and like I said, it's very, very relevant to what we've been doing today. And, uh, yeah, it was good.

Mike (26:59):

So to recap what we talked about today was really trying to connect what we do and how we do it as it pertains to kind of the technology piece of it and how that fits into our overall mission of making others successful and why that's important, right? And why we care about doing that and why we love helping organizations get organized, right. And establishing cl clarity around their goals and responsibility. So that's kinda what we talked about today. Yeah. Um, I think just a little shout out to Mitch we're, we missed you today, but for those of you who don't know, Mitch is a new baby daddy. He's got a little boy to add to his clan, which is super exciting. So shout out to Mitch. Yay. We're so happy for you. And I wanna say thanks again everyone for joining, and we look forward to seeing you next time.

Emma (27:48):

Yeah. Thanks everyone for joining today. If you haven't already subscribed to our show, please do so on your favorite podcasting app, so you'll always be up to date on the most recent episodes. This podcast is hosted by the team members of Ball Digital and a special thanks. And shout out to Eric Veneman for our music tracks in producing this episode. If you have any questions for us, head over to make others successful.com and you can get in touch with us there. You'll also find a lot of blogs and videos and content that will help you modernize your workplace and get the most out of Office 365. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

+ Expand Transcript

Related Episodes

EP 20

Level Up Internal Collaboration Within Your Workplace

EP 24

Why You Should Be Thinking Like a Consultant