By Brian McKay
Most everyone has dealt with a mission statement as an employee, owner or manager. It might be that you are subject to it or you are crafting it as a reflection of what you want the company to be. A mission statement can be a piece of art or an anchor that drags the whole ship down. It can be a statement that says “we explore” or a convoluted mess that is frequently violated and ignored by employees. It’s pretty obvious which one most people want to have.
Many might ask why a company needs a mission statement in the first place. The addition of employees means the addition of differing perceptions and visions. Those differing perceptions and visions are wonderful and can be a tremendous benefit as they are fostered and utilized. Your mission statement is just a simple statement that keeps those perceptions and visions focused towards the same goal.
A mission statement may also convey the character and soul of your enterprise. A statement such as, “Our goal is to constantly strive to be a diverse, innovative and socially responsible company.”, says a tremendous amount about what you stand for in one sentence.
When crafting a mission statement dedicate yourself to keeping it simple. You’re a zenruptor right? Well simplicity is remembered, respected and elegant. Nothing is worse than a book. If your mission statement in any way includes a hundred different tenants and approaches the size of a religious text, you’ve just created a mess. The problem with religious texts is that they have so many guidelines that they are often misinterpreted and violated. That is the last thing you want.
Nothing can further the demoralization of employees than a long and convoluted mission statement that is sometimes violated. No one likes a hypocrite, but a corporate hypocrite is especially vulnerable. Loss of respect can really impact the bottom line and inhibit forward growth.
As a zenruptor, your mission statement encompasses no more than two paragraphs. If you can get it down to a couple sentences that simplify the goals and values of the company, you are a hero. Now keep it that way and don’t let it keep growing. A simple mission is much easier to achieve than one with many parts.
A mission statement should be more about what your company strives to do, instead of saying what it does do. Your firm isn’t perfect and never will be. The minute management thinks they’re anything close to being perfect or even just extremely good, the end is near. Acknowledge that you are a work in progress and use terms that reflect the goals that are being moved towards.
The perfect words are “strive”, “hope”, “work towards”, “grow”, etc. The most knowledgeable and successful people will always see that there is much more to be done. Always convey that your company is the same.
Your mission statement isn’t written on stone tablets and can change as situations change. Don’t keep adding and adding to it. A change to your mission statement should be called attention to with your employees as it shows a change in the goal or focus.
A small statement can have a big impact on the behavior and focus of a company. Make it real, keep it raw and allow it to be always seeking to grow and be better.
“We are never the best, but seek to be the ones that try the hardest.”
Friends, keep zenrupting
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license
Brian McKay is a co-founder of zenruption and has his MBA from Boise State University. He really likes simple. He claims to like his simple, economy car with no automatic door looks because it makes him think. We don’t believe him.