Friday, September 28, 2007

Mission Statement Impossible

I've likely spent as much time agonizing over mission statements, vision statements, elevator pitches, and twenty-five-words-or-less descriptions over the years as anyone else on the face of the earth.

Mission and vision statements are the absolute worst. Especially if you're in a small, one product company, nobody ever wants the MS or VS to be too close to what the company actually does.

What if we want to expand our mission beyond selling lobster-shaped lollipops to savings and loans in states with names that begin with the letter "I"?

What if we decide to move into adjacent "M" states and sell into insurance companies, too, let alone expand our product set beyond lollipops to, say, nuclear waste disposal?

I know the answer to those questions:

Let's make our mission statement and vision statement- and I must confess that I really don't know what the difference is here - as high level, as lofty, as inclusive as possible.

Our mission is to provide our customers with the highest quality products and services.

It may not exactly distinguish us from, say, every other company's wishful mission statement, but it doesn't limit us in any way either.

But why bother to agonize when Dilbert.com has a mission statement generator for you. The mission statements I generated in a brief call on that site would be LOL funny if they weren't so close to the bone of statements I've actually seen (and, I will admit, worked on):

We exist to synergistically supply long-term high-impact technology such that we may continue to efficiently foster high-quality infrastructures to meet our customer's needs.

We have committed to completely network mission-critical sources and interactively facilitate emerging benefits to set us apart from the competition.

We have committed to assertively facilitate high-quality solutions so that we may seamlessly engineer performance based leadership skills.

Admittedly, it's easy enough to make fun of mission statements as one of the most ludicrous activities a business can spend time on. Which is not to say that it's not useful to have a periodic discussion about a company's purpose in life. It just shouldn't have to be boiled down into a sentence that's so airy and banal that it loses all sense of that purpose.

Pink Slip's mission? Simple enough.

Pink Slip's mission is to provide Maureen Rogers with a creative outlet, and offer its readers posts that are generally - if not 100% consistently - interesting and decently written. Oh, yes, and Pink Slip tries to keep all topics at least tangentially related to business.

I've just celebrated my first blog-iversary. I may not be a catalyst for facilitating high quality anything, but so far I think I've actually done a decent enough job living up to my mission statement.

So maybe it's a vision statement that I need....

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Hat tip to an oldie from Business Filter, which pointed me in Dilbert's direction.

1 comment:

Charles H. Green said...

First Blogiversary!!
May it not pass uncommented upon!

I am sure you have fulfilled your mission, but you have accomplished more. You have:

-Taught other bloggers (though I can only speak for one) the value of good writing, style, and a point of view;

-Made for more than a few smiles;

-Smoothed out the day with a reminder that whatever else goes on, it can all be improved by a light-hearted, mildly sardonic, bemused attitude;

-basically made life on the planet just a little bit better.

Oh yeah and given a few insightful perspectives along the way!

Congratulations and thanks; well done.