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Mission Statements — Five characteristics of good ones

by Scot Herrick on November 22nd, 2006

I contend that all Missions Statements are the same. But I’m a Pimp and can get away with saying things like that to promote a bit of discussion. Of course, the Mission Statement elements are the same, even though the words are a bit different. After all, you don’t see the Mission Statement of General Motors be the same as that of Citicorp now, do we?

As a strategy tool, it is important for all of us to understand what each of our company and/or department Mission Statements are all about. After all, they are meant to guide the strategy for the company. If Mission Statements are good ones, they will share the following good characteristics — regardless of the words in the Mission Statements:

  1. Mission Statements are collaborative. Even if your company has had the same Mission Statement for the last ten years, at the time it was created, there was a collaborative effort amongst the managers and employees to create the words that are the mission.
  2. Mission Statements translate into behavior by managers and employees. If your Mission Statement says that you will “delight customers” with your service and then charge $30 a day to the customer who saved your Thrifty Car Rental from the washed out roads caused by the storm, but left the car in place because there was no way out except to walk, your Mission Statement doesn’t translate into the correct behavior by your employees.
  3. Mission Statements are easy to understand. Anything more than two or three sentences won’t be remembered easily by employees, customers, or shareholders.
  4. Mission Statements don’t Corporate Speak. This Pimp does humor from Corporate Speak. If you think that “We will delight our customers by delivering exceptional products and services that will drive customer satisfaction and top-tier returns for our shareholders” is a cool Mission Statement, you need to think about that.
  5. Mission Statements are built into goals. In order for Mission Statements to really work, goals need to be build for the company and employees that relate to the Mission Statement. If managers consistently review goals with their employees and the goals have specific actions related to the mission, there will be a direct translation to the employee about the importance of the mission to the company.

How does your Mission Statement come in against these characteristics of good ones? Any other great ways to translate the mission into great work by employees?

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POSTED IN: Cube life, Strategy, Survival Skills

4 opinions for Mission Statements — Five characteristics of good ones

  • harrowdrive
    Nov 22, 2020 at 8:09 am

    Real mission statement of a company I know well:

    “Develop UK client virtual call centre showcase, achieving world class operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, employee motivation and development while fostering team work in support of colleagues and partners to attain goals.”

    Did you just go ‘buh??’ Don’t worry its the standard response.

  • Scot Herrick
    Nov 22, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    See? Corporate Speak Mission Statements don’t mean anything…

    Too funny.

  • Tris Hussey
    Nov 23, 2020 at 10:48 am

    I think this is why I hate mission statments. Too many are in corporate speak. Too many are just B.S. induced by being locked in a room all day with your co-workers and a trained facilitator who has been forcing you to play stupid ice-breaker games.

    Think I’m a little jaded about the corporate world ;)?

  • Have a Mission Statement for People to Read : Skinny Moose Media
    Jul 10, 2020 at 6:42 am

    […] {Learn more about mission statements; Some downfalls regarding mission statements} aspirations, business blogs, clients, goals, mission statements, tips July 10, 2020 | Filed Under Blog Tips  […]

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