Monday, December 31, 2012

Is Your Mission Statement Really Your Mission?

What is your mission statement?

I don't care whether you are a business owner or an employee.  Either way, if you're motivated, you have a mission statement.

How many times have you seen a company's mission statement, gone to visit that company (or talked with someone from there) and seen a disconnect?

How often do we realize that a mission statement really is a "looking good" statement, not really saying anything or truly reflecting the company?

Randomly, I am picking different companies and sharing the mission statement from each.  Let's see how convinced YOU are of any of these.


Disclaimer: Each of these companies are very good.  My focus is on each company's mission statement--not my view on these respective companies.


"Our Mission Our Roadmap starts with our mission, which is enduring. It declares our purpose as a company and serves as the standard against which we weigh our actions and decisions.
  • To refresh the world...
  • To inspire moments of optimism and happiness...
  • To create value and make a difference.
Question: Do you really buy this?  (possibly "refresh the world," but even that...)


"Our Mission: To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world."

Note: They add a clarifying statement, "If you have a body, you are an athlete."

Comment: I really like that clarifying statement about each person being an athlete as sort of a "human right."  That is REALLY cool, but their mission?  Ummm....Do YOU buy it?  You think their production line workers are thinking this junk?


"McDonald's brand mission is to be our customers' favorite place and way to eat. Our worldwide operations are aligned around a global strategy called the Plan to Win, which center on an exceptional customer experience – People, Products, Place, Price and Promotion. We are committed to continuously improving our operations and enhancing our customers' experience."

Comment: I want to establish that I've always considered McDonald's to be one of the greatest companies out there, but what is THIS tripe?  What are the chances that the person taking your order can recite ANY of this, or even knows it exists?  How many store managers are thinking of this in the middle of the store's lunch rush?

Frankly, each of us should have our own mission statement, because we should always be on a mission--that really matters to us.

Link #1:
(within "Operations" section - expand "+" sign for mission statement)

"We save people money so they can live better."

Comment: Now THIS is AWESOME.  It's short and easy to understand...AND implement.  What's the problem?  Notice that THIS is the mission statement they present to their STOCKHOLDERS.

Let's check this other page:
Link #2:

The mission statement here is not even cleanly laid out; so I will try to highlight key points:
  • Carry out Sam Walton's idea of making the customer #1
  • Cultivate excellent supplier relationships
  • Generate and operate highly efficient systems
  • Maintain an unswerving commitment to "Always Low Prices" philosophy
Comment: Actually, these sound pretty good, but have you visited a Walmart store, lately?  How often do you see the employees "feeling" that mission of making the customer #1?  Some are very good, but most of their workers would rather run and hide.  They don't even seem to like people.  However, the company seems to be world-class at keeping to their "Always Low Prices" philosophy.  If they stuck with THAT, this mission would be more believable.  It's too bad that they explain their mission statement differently to their stock shareholders than they do their customers.


"Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad."

Comment:YAWN!  As good and as exciting a company as they are, THIS SUCKS!  (I hope they see this, too!)  There is nothing objectionable, but it uses so many words to be bland that it defies the greatness of their products.  It's not a mission statement; it's a yawning obligation...that only may be fulfilled several years from now.  I was unaware that Apple could do anything this poorly.  (I fully expected to put them in the "good" pile--not this one!)


Okay, I chastised mission statements from some of the world's biggest companies.  Therefore, it's fair to ask, WHAT makes a good mission statement?

A good mission statement is something is easy to understand and implement.

A great mission statement is easy for employees, contractors, suppliers, and customers to FEEL.

The first one makes great LIP SERVICE, but the second one makes great CUSTOMER SERVICE.  When your customers FEEL your mission, you know you've got it.

However, your customers won't feel your mission, unless your people in your day-to-day operations feel it, and the people and companies who supply you with parts or service feel it.  When people are on the same mission to provide the same thing, your customers are going to feel it.  They'll have no choice, because that will be the only thing they see or receive.

When your mission is clear, it makes it easier for others to decide whether to join you.  If they do, you probably have the start of a great team, and your customers--the ones who feel your mission--will become your best salespeople...your best brand sharers.

What is the biggest thing that makes a great mission statement?  People in the company FOLLOW it, because it's their mission, too!


It's only fair that I try to find some companies who have it right--or closer to getting it right.


"Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful."

Comment:While not particularly inspiring, it's fitting.  More importantly, it is something that customers feel, because their workers get it.  Plus, it's something that non-Google people can appreciate.  This mission helps makes the world a better place, when it's implemented.


"We've aligned the entire organization around one mission: to provide the best customer service possible. Internally, we call this our WOW philosophy."

Comment: If you don't give a darn about customer service, are YOU looking to work there?  Is there ANY doubt about what is important to them?  I don't even buy shoes very often, and I've even heard of their seemingly peerless customer service.  Their mission is clear, and their employees seem to on this same mission.


"Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time."

Comment: It's not perfect, but it's accurate.  I'm not a coffee drinker, but when I go into a Starbucks, it seems like there is a certain feeling that is nurtured by this mission.  I sort of wish their mission read something more like, "We know  you have an addiction, and we want to make that as pleasant as possible for you--every day, maybe several times a day."  Still, their mission is clear, and their workers seem to buy into it.


"Our vision is to be earth's most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online."

Comment: Can you argue with this mission statement?  There is nothing more to say; it's a good mission statement.


Even if you never plan to own a company, WHAT is your mission statement?

If you're on a mission, then find a company that helps you meet that mission.  You'll ascend higher places within it, because you will WANT to work harder, and they will want to reward you for helping meet their agenda, which also happens to be your agenda.

If you have a company, what is your mission?  Truly?  What burns inside you more than anything?  Does your company help you meet your mission?

Your workers won't be true to you, if you aren't true to yourself.

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