I recently encountered a blog post in which organisational development pro Robert Wickam discussed what it means to be a healthy business.
He described a healthy business as one where every person is a contributing partner, conflict is low and trust among colleagues is high.
Each employee is fully engaged and understands role in achieving the company mission, and people are viewed as thinking and feeling human beings who bring enormous energy, creativity and talent to their work.
They are encouraged to pursue meaningful opportunities that allow them the autonomy to make decisions and contribute to the company in significant ways.
I had to laugh because you could swap the words “healthy business” for “healthy marriage,” and the statement would be just as true.
In healthy relationships, partners share a clear sense of purpose, agree on strategies to reach their goals, hold to common values and rise to certain behavioural standards.
They have a mission. Just like work.
I thought to myself, “What’s my marital mission statement?”
Good question. Most of us got married because we fell in love and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.
Or we felt attracted. But this idea of romantic love is relatively new, and with it comes a 50 per cent divorce rate.
Perhaps there’s a way to really hone in on and create a greater sense of mission and purpose that will draw you and your partner deeper into a relationship.
So what goes into a statement of mission?
Businesses spend lots of time and money attempting to express their mission in order to bring a sense of attention and intention to their work.
People working in businesses want to be connected to something greater than themselves.
For a relationship, the work begins with a statement of purpose.
What is the highest motivating force behind your union? Is it having children? Is it supporting one another? Is it experiencing unconditional love?
Talk with your partner about this and try to identify the deepest motivating force driving your relationship.
I asked Martin about this, and we agreed it was our deep desire to experience union with our creator by becoming co-creators of our lives.
Now admittedly, Martin and I are right-brained creative types, so this really works for us.
It encapsulates the desire that drove us to make a home, create a family, create a business and support each other in our respective creative endeavours.
On a spiritual level, Martin and I believe the energy that drives the creative process is unconditional love, so that is what we hope to experience from our union.
And this particular mission and purpose encourage us to continually be co-creating our lives.
How do you hope to achieve this purpose?
In business we develop strategies governing our conduct in pursuit of the business goal. Will you be an aggressive growth organisation?
Will you be customer-focused?
Will you develop a unique culture?
Businesses create game plans, and couples can, too.
Some relationships may depend on utilising religious faith guidelines to achieve their mission. Some may delegate roles.
Martin and I agree to act cooperatively to consciously develop a higher quality of life through vision, action and planning.
Most businesses also define the core values that drive their organisations.
The leadership simply agrees on the appropriate boundaries for action.
For our family, we choose to live by respect, trust, non-judgment, encouragement and self-control.
Finally, all this thinking work must manifest itself in expected behaviours.
For us, that means conscious, non-ego-oriented behaviours that support a loving environment.
Using the framework of purpose, strategy, values and behaviours, our family created this mission statement:
We are co-creators of our lives, sharing a desire to love and be loved unconditionally, by consciously determining our behaviours and the outcomes we wish for ourselves and our family.
We value respect, trust, non-judgment and self-control.
We bring our best selves to this union, casting out destructive, egocentric motivations so that we may achieve the most positive and loving lifestyle we are capable of.
Melissa Thoma is Thoma Thoma’s marketing lead, providing research analysis, creative direction and strategic development.