Why Mission Statements Aren’t Enough

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Why Mission Statements Aren’t Enough

Category : Blog

Many organizations have very well written mission statements yet, in many cases their performance has waned over time.  For some reason the people they are hiring and who have been there just aren’t as engaged with that idea as others were before.  

The reason could be “mission accomplished”.     A Mission is achievable.  We went to the moon and returned safely to the earth, as John Kennedy asked us to.  This took 7 years. Mission accomplished.  After that mission was accomplished the budget was slashed and NASA drifted until the Shuttle program which was key in the mission of establishing the International Space Station, this took another 15 years.  Mission Accomplished.  Budget slashed. 
Missions once they are accomplished lose their power and when new people come in they are not jazzed.  And if it is too specific about how we achieve it,  for example, and conditions change, (like er ah 2008?), a well intended mission falls flat.
While missions (who, what, how, when) which are  essentially really BIG goals,  are important, they are unsustainable as the examples above show.  Becoming Great Companies, are purpose driven and Vision “:focused”.  These two are the alpha and omega of the becoming great process. As the Collins study points out in his vast research, a great Core Purpose should last 100 years.  And a great Core Purpose along with the actual Core Values should -drive collective and individual decision-making if they are properly constructed. (ask me about this as this very important.) A well written Core Purpose will guide a company or organization (or an individual) for a 100 years or more. 

Walt Disney was asked why he was in business- “My business is making people, especially children, happy.” —Walt Disney

This is no mission statement. It is a CORE PURPOSE which almost 80 years later, still drives the Disney organization.

Vision on the other hand focuses the strategic plans of your organization. Since strategies are broad and directional, they should point the organization at the “Everest” as Jim Collins calls it, the VISION. 

And the Vision should be a clear concise statement of that ultimate, with a vivid detailed description of what it will be like when we arrive, NOT how to get there, the ultimate “state”.

Carry on…..

Jeff Pelletier