What is Your Mission Statement?

Originally published on LinkedIn.com on May 27, 2016 By Moe Glenner
What is Your Mission Statement
Almost every company/organization has the ubiquitous package of mission, vision and values statements. If we define a mission statement as our current purpose, vision as where we would like to be (at some point in the future) and values as what we stand for, shouldn’t everyone in the company readily know them?
Yet, in an informal survey of people in a variety of companies ranging from entrepreneurial to Fortune 500 and at different levels from custodial to the C-suite, virtually no one can repeat (or even succinctly describe their company’s mission statement. And if no one knows the mission statement, how can the company’s people all pull in the same direction? In other words, if no one knows the direction, than alignment remains a distant dream.
While there are many potential reasons for a company’s mission statement to remain unknown, the most likely reasons are that they are mostly meaningless and too long (and likely unwieldly too). For instance, this is the mission statement of one (unnamed) Fortune 500 company:
“Guided by relentless focus on our five imperatives, we will constantly strive to implement the critical initiatives required to achieve our vision. In doing this, we will deliver operational excellence in every corner of the Company and meet or exceed our commitments to the many constituencies we serve. All of our long-term strategies and short-term actions will be molded by a set of core values that are shared by each and every associate.”
I wish all of its employees (and leaders) the best of luck in remembering and indoctrinating a statement that long and not particularly meaningful either. If we took a closer look. . . “ we will deliver operational excellence”. . . “and meet or exceed our commitments to the many constituencies we serve”. . . .”All of our long-term strategies and short-term actions”. . .
These all fall in the category of ‘It goes without saying’ or in other words extraneous and obvious. Of course, the company strives to be excellent in its operations and of course, the company strives to meet and beat commitments to everyone it touches. And of course, everything it does should be based on its values. If a communication ‘goes without saying’, it shouldn’t be said!
So here’s my rhetorical homework assignment: Find your company’s mission statement and turn it into a meaningful purpose statement that is no longer than a Tweet. In other words, it must be no more than 140 characters. By doing this, you will realize the power of brevity and of succinct direct communications.
Here’s an example of such a mission statement (from Virgin Atlantic and under 80 characters): “To grow a profitable airline, where people love to fly and people love to work”. (And yes, even here there is some extraneous language. After all, of course they want to be profitable).
What Tweetable mission statements were you able to create? As always, I welcome your comments.
When not piloting the skies of blue, I inspire people and organizations to think and act differently. To learn more about the Leadership Takeoff! (Ideation+Change=Innovation) leadership series please visit me at www.MoeGlenner.com or contact me directly at Moe@MoeGlenner.com.
What is Your Mission Statement
Moe Glenner
Motivational Leadership Speaker: Communications, Change, Innovation | Workshops | Corp Pilot | Consulting | Author