Brian Litvack is the CEO and Co-Founder at LeagueApps, a software platform that connects people around one of Brian’s passions: sports. The goal of the company is to make sports more accessible to young people in communities across the nation. The software makes it easier to run sports programs and connect with players and their families.
A big part of why LeagueApps is such a success is that Brian has instilled values and an important mission from the get-go. Using technology, software, and data to create more positive sports experiences is just one part of that mission.
You can learn a lot about the way Brian created a brag-worthy culture at LeagueApps, no matter what kind of organization you have.
What Having a Mission-Driven Company Means
When you have a mission-driven company, your company values are everything. While financial success is also very important, it means nothing if the mission isn’t behind everything that you do. From hiring to day-to-day projects to major decisions, it all needs to go back to those core principles.
For example, LeagueApp focuses on the following:
- Being a student in the game
- Making a difference
- Owning your role
Brian and his co-founders have made these values the cornerstone of everything that they do. They never lose sight of them and every team member is aware of them. They are constantly working to uphold these fundamental ideas — for the business as a whole as well as for their customers.
Instill your company values from the very start. In terms of hiring, aim to work with people who show that they really care. You need to make sure that what you’re putting out into the world — whether it’s a product or a service — really matters to the people on your team.
Talk about your values and elevate them in your interactions every day. When making decisions, focus on living up to and strengthening those values. Be clear with team members and ensure that they are aware that the mission is the most important thing. Keep going back to that original mission and base everything that you do on it. Not only will it attract the right kind of employees, but also the right kinds of customers.
Recognition is a huge part of it. Consider highlighting employees who best exemplify those values at all-hands meetings. You may even give out annual awards to motivate your team to do their best work — which, again, is all about amplifying your mission.
Encouraging Growth Within the Company — and Beyond
Bringing on the right people and giving them career development opportunities is essential. This is especially true in the tech world, where employees typically don’t stay with the same company for the duration of their careers. It’s important to create an atmosphere where folks aren’t afraid to grow — even if that means eventually leaving the company.
As an executive, founder, or manager, you need to recognize and understand that the people within your organization are really what makes it. Your biggest investment is the people on your team.
When a team member is doing well, recognize that. Don’t underestimate the importance of monthly meetings with your people. Continue to check in to make sure that they are happy and satisfied, and if they aren’t, talk about what you can do to support them.
It also goes both ways. If you, as a business leader, notice that an employee has lost sight of the mission, talk to them about it. Every action you take either strengthens or weakens your values. If you’re aware of that, then you will constantly work to strengthen those values.
One way to determine whether or not everyone in the organization is on the same page is to have all-hands meetings outside the office. At LeagueApps, these are called organized team activities, or OTAs. Twice a year every year, the entire company gathers to spend time together and bond. It’s a great place to hone in on the company’s mission, as well as build stronger connections.
What started as a way to workshop business problems evolved into a way to elevate their mission and connect. Brian says, if you have the ability to do something like this twice a year instead of just annually, you will be able to really hammer home what your company is all about.
How To Continue To Be Mission-Driven
The more you can identify them and talk about your values, the more like-minded people you’ll attract. When you have strong values from the beginning, they’ll only continue to get stronger and stronger.
As an entrepreneur or a founder, you have a special opportunity to write the rules of your organization. This goes beyond the standard employee handbook-style rules. Consider the ways you want to treat each other as a team and how you want to present your company to the rest of the world.
Make sure you know who you are and what you stand for. A big part of being a mission-driven company is that you always have to put your mission and values first. You need to ensure that your team members believe in and care about that mission.
Remember: not all companies are value and mission-driven, and that’s okay. That said, if you do hope to build a business with a clear purpose, you’ve got to focus on those values from the very start.
When you center your company culture around upholding your mission, you can make a difference in the lives of your employees and your customers. And when you have a mission-driven business, that’s what it’s all about.
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