Having a purpose forces you to stay in your lane on the way to your destination. There are so many shinny attention getting distractions that can steer your growing community in a different direction, that being focused on a purpose is very important. The purpose is the mission and can always be expanded to accommodate new concepts, but only if the community leaders come together and agree on it. Otherwise if someone makes a concrete decision without conferring with the whole, you get unruly factions or rogue agents looking to push their thoughts to undermine the greater purpose of the community. History is littered with examples of community leaders not coming together to address the idea of change to the groups mission, which have ultimately lead to the community’s downfall. There are also countless examples of the converse where community leaders address change to the mission, and the greater community benefits and continues to grow.
Since 1993 the Viking community steadily grew in size and its initial mission of running soccer classes changed to running sports programs. The reason being that more parents within the Viking community were clamoring for multiple sport offerings from Mike, so he created a program called Multi-Sports and changed the name of the company to Viking Sports Camp.
In 2007 Mike hired me to work at Viking Sports. After teaching me the ins and outs of the business he sold Viking to Dennis. When Dennis became the owner I helped him run Viking with my fellow coach Zach. At this time, Viking’s primary mission was to offer sports programs to kids, which saw the company work with a handful of recreation departments. While focusing on this purpose, the community was growing stale. Viking wasn’t really offering anything new and the community was just going throw the motions. The community wasn’t really growing anymore.
In 2011 Zach and I bought Viking from Dennis. We were already engrained in the Viking community, but realized we needed new ideas. While sitting at Starbucks, Zach and I talked it out. We landed on the thought of engaging the Viking community for ideas. That one action jump-started the Viking community’s energy. Lots of great ideas came pouring in, but one idea from Lisa, who ran the Brookline Recreation Department, floated to top because it was something Zach and I were already discussing. It was building a facility to give our community a physical home base of operations.
After the Viking Activity Center was built we started doing a lot more cool stuff. We invented this cool Ninja Warrior program. Chris started pioneering some innovate birthday party ideas and organizations started asking us to help with their huge events. We were becoming a different company so Zach and I huddled together along with our leadership team, like we so often do, to figure out Viking’s new mission. Chelsey thought we should start looking at Viking as an active community. She was absolutely right, so we landed on “creating an all-inclusive community in which fun through physical activity is recognized as crucial to a well-rounded lifestyle.”
We became specialists of fun.
Pretty cool huh?