What’s Your Views On Mission Statements? You Might Be Surprised About Mine!

March 15, 2016

mission statements

I’ll admit it, I used to think the start of thinking about the future strategy of the business was to get the vision stuff and mission statements sorted. Then there would be some sort of trickle down effect in to the more detailed plans. Plus the aspirational words in those mission statements would gel everybody into a single drive of enthusiasm.

Mission Statements Are A Joke!

This article made me smile and reinforced where my thinking is nowadays. 

How wrong was I back then? Maybe I was just going with the management-thinking flow at the time. You will have seen what I mean….. businesses that want to be the best in their industry, or deliver exceptional customer service, etc.  In reality many of the businesses I meet would probably be much happier with a vision that is about always doing a reasonable job for a satisfied customer.

Am I Against Vision And Mission Statements?

No!  It’s just that there’s a time and place for putting effort into doing them. 

Consider the following situations….

The business has unclear processes – people just know what happens in their team and don’t understand the consequences of their activities across the business.  There aren’t any clearly understood metrics of how the business is performing, especially on the shop floor.

People across the business use different terms for the same thing or fall into using acronyms that others don’t understand. People always seem to be asking about or checking details about a customer order because their team or department don’t have all the necessary information to do their job.

Finally, too many people across the business have no idea where the business is going this year, never mind in 5 years!

Do Any Of These Situations Ring A Painful Bell?

If you feel even the slightest bit like you can relate to any of them, why would it seem good sense to go off and develop a vision or mission statement?  Surely the more important thing to do is focus on the year in hand and sort out the basics of clarity such as:

  • Knowing exactly what products and service you offer;
  • Knowing how well you make or deliver those products or services;
  • Ensuring everybody has the right tools and information to do their job;
  • Understanding the end-to-end processes and delivering a valuable product or service to your customers;
  • Everybody using the same language to describe activities in the business.

I guarantee that addressing those basics of clarity will be far more positive and make a real bottom-line impact than drafting some visionary words to put up on the wall.