Short Mission Statements

October 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

To prove my point, I asked a gentleman who was sitting with us in the table, “Sir, please recite the mission statement of your organization.”  He paused, prepared to speak then sighed, “It’s too long to remember.”

I looked back at my friends in the table, one of them a business consultant, and exclaimed, “See!  This is what happens to most employees if you make your mission statements too long.”

This is  a gap that must be addressed.

Mission statements give the organization a higher purpose other than making a profit.  Everyone in the organization should have this strong sense of mission and purpose otherwise, the employees will be there just for the pay check.

These statements, are also placed on the walls of our offices for a purpose.  And that is, to unite everyone’s mind and heart, so the members of the organization may be influenced to behave in a certain way.   Aside from posting on the wall, it should be reinforced with pep talks from executives and managers.   It would really help everyone if the mission statement is ABC: accurate, brief and concise.

I recently read an article written by Eric Hellweg entitled, “The Eight-Word Mission Statement.” His article narrates the practice of Kevin Starr, executive director of Mulago Foundation.  This foundation “channels investments to socially minded business.”  One way for Starr to sift through the many proposals is to look for clear, short, targeted mission statements.  They must use the format “verb, target, outcome.” A sample, “Improve African children’s health.”

If your partners and employees fail to recite your organization’s mission statement with ease, change it.

The statement, “Preserve human life through research” is easier to internalize compared to, “Our company exists for the purpose of developing and testing medicine through extensive research done in the highest form of discipline and to distribute our high quality products to the market through dependable partners in a responsible way.”

Cut the clutter.  Keep it short.

© Ed Pilapil Jr.  2010


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