Mark Zuckerberg recently published an updated business manifesto for Facebook. Which begs the question, so what?

And these other questions may also jump to mind:

What the heck is a business manifesto?

Why is it important?

Should business owners spend time creating one?

A manifesto is…

“…a published declaration of intentions, motives, or views.” (1)

When applied to business, a manifesto says, “Here’s what drives our business. Here’s where we’re going. This is how we’re going to act along the way.”

It’s strategic. Aspirational. And hopefully authentic.

A business manifesto is important…

…for at least three reasons:

  1. Management must think deeply about its business to create its manifesto. The time and effort it invests produces insights into the business; it shapes and clarifies direction, and it helps make critical decisions.
  2. The business manifesto unites the entire company. By working through the process, managers identify, explore, and resolve a variety of differing views. Done honestly, the process broadens their understanding of the company. It aligns their thinking with company direction and each other.The resulting document then serves as a guide for the entire staff.
  3. The business manifesto influences how the world views the company. It underpins everything that’s visible to outsiders. When created authentically, and when reinforced by management, the manifesto’s themes are reflected in product design, marketing materials, legal contracts. It guides decisions and behaviour. It is felt by customers on support calls; it is experienced by suppliers in the specifications they receive.

As a public document, the manifesto acts as a self-selection vehicle for staff, suppliers, and customers. Powerful and dangerous stuff! Those that like the manifesto will be more inclined to work with you. Those that don’t, won’t.

The ability to guide, to align, and to influence self-selection makes the business manifesto a powerful tool. This power comes from its authenticity which is rooted in introspection, honesty, and trust. However, a failing in any of these will cause it to sound hollow, insincere, inauthentic. Which is worse than having no manifesto at all.

We’re going through the business manifesto process…

…at the FaceToFace Broadcasting Corporation. Difficult, interesting, and necessary work. And we’re not done yet! Read what we’ve come up with so far in our business manifesto, and let us now what you think.