For quite some time, I’ve been wishing that we had a more inspiring mission statement. A mission statement that better expresses the purpose of Sandberg. Something that expresses the personal passion that the people in this company have for doing a good job, but that also communicates the value our work brings to our clients.
Driven by the urge to extract the essence of our purpose into an inspiring statement, I spent a fair bit of time last autumn thinking about what motivates us to do our work well.
You may be familiar with the concept of ikigai, that core thing at the convergence of What you are good at, What you love, What the world needs and What you can be paid for.
Your passion is the area where what you love overlaps with what you are good at. Mission is the area where what you love matches with what the world needs. Your vocation is where what the world needs intersects with what you can be paid for. And your profession is where what you can be paid for meets with what you are good at.
And where all these four areas intersect, you can find your purpose. In other words, Sandberg’s purpose had to be something the world needs, something we can get paid for, something we are good at and something we love.
Here’s how I worked it out:
People need access to goods and services in their own language. That’s the ‘what the world needs’ bit.
We get paid if having that access is an enjoyable and confidence-inspiring experience for them. This took some time for me to figure out. In today’s world, almost anyone can claim to produce translations. But for the translations to be successful, they need to inspire confidence in their audiences so that they end up influencing and persuading people. That will not happen if the translations make people question the quality of the product they are considering or doubt the safety of the instructions they are reading.
We are good at producing such an experience. When our teams do the translation, the resulting user experience is confidence-inspiring.
We love giving people that experience. This is what we relish about our work; to delight people with language, to make them feel comfortable and included, to make them feel they get the message, they understand the references, they enjoy the jokes. We love giving them confidence through what they hear or see.
This will now become Sandberg’s new official mission statement: To create confidence through content. It answers the question about our purpose and why we do what we do. It explains what we want to give the world through our work. It spells out the benefit of our work to our clients – that their multilingual content will inspire their audiences to have confidence in their products and services.
Our new mission widens our purpose to cover different types of content services, not just translation. And it’s motivational for all of us here at Sandberg because it’s aligned with what we feel is important about our work. Giving people confidence and positive user experiences is a purpose we can be proud of.