Mission accomplished?

November 3, 2009 § 2 Comments

Dilbert

A famous mission statement from Dilbert’s Automatic Mission Statement Generator (unfortunately no longer available online) reads:

“It is our job to continually foster world-class infrastructures as well as to quickly create principle-centered sources to meet our customer’s needs”

Though I find missionary stances either hilarious or boring, for a business, a mission statement can be very valuable, if they articulate real targets. Hence, unlike vision statements, mission statements change more often. Deliberately. Not “just because”.

The discipline of maintaining one can help focus on scarce resources that are often overlooked and can be very valuable. Then a mission can become expressions of identity with internal and external value. Employees, vendors, and clients don’t get stoked by fuzzy mission statements. They will line up behind concrete goals.

External value

A mission statement can clarify what a customer can expect from your company by way of clustered products and services. As such, it can become a powerful selling tool.

And not just that, potential allies and employees, and partners and investors may find useful information if it not only describes your business functions, but also states what is unique about your business.

Internal value

Mission statements can guide everyone inside the organisation or company when being asked “What does your business do?” A well-written clear mission statement can even guide decision making and discerning which activities are aligned with or are at odds with the intent expressed in the mission statement.

Creating a mission statement

What is your business? What are the types of work your company performs?
What technology and products are involved?
What markets do you serve?
What makes your business unique? What differentiates it?

Acceptance test

  • A mission statement in maximum 75 words, referencing the answers to those questions ~ keep refining and rewriting until it does.
  • Must sound compelling.
  • A form that can easily be posted to a website or included in printed materials.
  • Allows latitude but provides direction. It should not be a sure bet, but the organisation must believe ‘we can do it anyway.’
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