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Seb Anthony

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mission statements


I posted a question on the 21st of November asking for peoples' personal opinions about their favourite or least favourite mission statements....since I posted this question over a week ago 242 people have looked at it but only 2 have any comment to make on the subject.

Since we are almost ALL touched by mission statements, but only two people out of 242 actually have an opinion about their personal favourite OR non-event, should I conclude that all the effort and hype that goes into deciding, developing and printing mission statements is a waste of time?

Should I even bother to write the book or should I just print a "health warning"?

Is anybody reading this?

PS just in case it is the heading that is putting people off I'll post this under new heading as well.

rus slater

12 Responses

  1. Are we touched by Mission Statements
    Hi Rus

    I’ve seen some good and some bad examples of mission statements. The problem seems to be in getting everyone to understand and live them so that they happen.

    My experiences have been that, especially in multi-site operations, the further down the food chain you are, the more diluted the message and the less it means to people.

    At its worst, the mission statement has been used as a stick to beat people with. The best (or worst!) example I can think of is a company who had the catch-all statement ‘Putting People First’. Unfortunately this was announced before any work had been done to embed it and there were some massive blockers in the middle management team who did a great job of making sure the opposite was true!

    Happy to talk in more detail if you want

    Have a great weekend


  2. For Juliet
    Hi Juliet
    Would you be prepared to send me your comment directly?
    I’m not censorious (often!)

  3. Here’s Mine
    A PC on every Desktop – Microsoft

    It’s brilliant, succint and allows everyone to know what the company is about.

    Anything more than 7 words is awful – because it’s unmemorable. Anybody who uses a paragraph of multiple sentences really, really needs a metaphysical (or maybe even physical) slap…

  4. Mission Statements
    First lets look at the ones that cannot work
    They se to value or standards and have no timescale or measurables.

    The next ones that I HATE are those that look inwards – at the company – the UK must be one of the worst for thinking that a customer has to use them.

    I therefore suggest you find a simple value statement that everyone can share – that will help them to realise that every action they take can be supported by the senior management – to improve the company performance in relation to their customers.

  5. Missions and Mission Statements
    If you have a genuine and compelling mission, then that can help galvanise and focus people on what needs to be done. A good mission statement, in my view, captures the essence of your core purpose, usually in a few meaningful words. Poor mission statements fall in various categories including death by platitude, spin not truth (or what the senior team would like us to believe) and all things to all people.
    Charities are sometimes better at this than business and they don’t always use the ‘mission statement’ jargon. Take Christian Aid who have three aims:
    To deliver real, practical benefits on the ground;
    To speak out where there is injustice; and,
    To campaign for change.
    The full text is longer, but because it is based around a true mission, I think this is where longer can work.
    As to businesses, some gain benefit from working through what the statement should be. The process can be more helpful than the final product. But if you want a simple, catchy mission slogan that encapsulates what you are about, in plain English, try Virgin Atlantic:
    To grow a profitable airline where people love to fly and where people love to work.
    Great for internal and external marketing, but it will only work if it reflects people’s actual experiences.
    One final point, not just for your Rus, what is your personal mission in life?
    One for reflection, I think, rather than response.

  6. Not sure
    Hi Rus

    Does a company’s mission statement matter to me? To be honest, not really.

    To take the example previously quoted of Microsoft’s mission statement “A PC on every desk”. Do I care that this is their mission statment? Nope – all I really care about is that I can go and buy a pc if I want one

    However, I DO think that the company ITSELF needs to understand what its mission is, so that its board and all its employees know vaguely what the organisation is trying to achieve.

    If I work for Microsoft, do I need to understand that we are aiming to get a pc on every desk? Well, I should think it helps!

    On a related point, I recently attended an excellent course run by Eureka! and it was argued there that if you look at it from a learner’s perspective, it can be argued that mission statements, values etc, should not be covered during employee induction on the grounds that:

    1) They can be easily read/learnt in another way
    2) They aren’t critical to people doing their day to day job
    3) They aren’t referred to very often



  7. Mission statement
    Mission statements are for internal use to help staff and the various functions all pull in one direction – they’re are not or public consumption as would be a tag-line, but the customers or clients should be feeling the impact of the stataement if it is truly being adopted.

  8. Missing Missions
    Hi Rus

    Annoying when no one responds to a pet subject isn’t it?

    Mission statements are a waste of time unless either;
    * the people in company have had a part in creating them and then owning them
    * they understand them and believe in the sentiment

    When working with my clients to create them I use the 3 C’s to analyse them.

    Are they Concise, Clear and Crisp. Usually a good starter for 10.

    My wife’s charity (VRH – Volunteer Reading Help) uses “confident children, literate for life”. Keeps her engaged and passionate to succeed through the tough times, particularly when funds are hard to find. The thought of kids being low in confidence and semi-literate through life provides the emotional tug to make the mission work.



  9. Interesting – What’s the opposite?
    I’ve found this very interesting as i am trying to get the directors in my 5year old, 40 employee company that communicates no vision, no values and no mission statement to back it up. Without these things, employees come in, do work, go home, here’s no consideration for the bigger picture and no thinking about how they fit in, because what is comunicated instead is – you don’t need to know therefor your not important.

    Has everyone forgot the triangle?

    The front line workers are at the top – without them – no company exists. Managers, middle managers, trainers, HR, senoir management, and CEO’s, Directors are there as support – so how come it’s more often communicated to the lower lever of the triangle what’s going on, what the plan is, and how we’re going to get there – when the people who really need to know are the ones at the top – the front line staff.

    Without a clear and concise, communicated, vision, set of values and a mission statement about how we are going to make achievements and what they are; think – how do people know what’s happening and how to get there?

  10. Microsoft
    The full version of Bil Gates vision for MS was: ‘A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software’.

    They dropped it when the lawsuits around monopolistic behaviour started. And in any case they’ve pretty much achieved it.

    It’s now the rather softer ‘to help people and business around the world achieve their full potential’. Which means selling more/better software for all those computers.

  11. A hearty seasonal “thank-you”
    Dear Respondents
    A hearty seasonal “Thank-you” to everyone who has contributed here.
    I should like to select from the comments made as vox-pop/expert opinions in the e-book and to attribute said comments as appropriate. IF you don’t want your comments used please could you let me know at rusdotslateratskydotcom

    Thanks again



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