What’s in YOUR Mission Statement?

I recently attended a conference where Guy Kawasaki challenged the audience to create meaningful “Mantras” for their companies.

He explained how the standard corporate “Mission Statement” really wasn’t cutting it anymore. In describing the process of conducting a two-day offsite meeting with a highly paid consultant to facilitate the flip-chart discussion, he revealed that the Mission Statement Generator on the Dilbert web site actually comes up with some pretty good ones. So good in fact, that a global accounting firm nearly adopted one created on the Dilbert site which was submitted to the company’s internal contest — it won second place. So I tried it for myself and found it works for just about any industry.

For an alternative energy company:

“The customer can count on us to continually engineer world-class services such that we may continue to synergistically network ethical resources while maintaining the highest standards”

For a business services media company:

“It’s our mission to interactively supply scalable resources so that we may endeavor to competently disseminate business materials while maintaining the highest standards.”

How about for a consulting firm:

“We efficiently simplify low-risk high-yield paradigms to allow us to enthusiastically fashion market-driven deliverables to stay competitive in tomorrow’s world”

OK, these are silly and no one in their right mind would ever put out this kind of drivel, right?


Read this ACTUAL mission statement – you will be surprised where it comes from:

“The following six guiding principles will help us measure the appropriateness of our decisions:

Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.

Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business.

Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting and fresh delivery of our coffee.

Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time.

Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.

Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.”

This is from Starbucks. Shouldn’t their mission statement be more like “We brew delicious coffee and build friendships”?

Bayer’s mission statement requires a 9-page PDF. I thought they were supposed to get rid of headaches, not give them!

If you want to create a mission statement that actually means something – think about what your company actually provides to the consumer and go from there. You really don’t need to write a manifesto or a behavioral guideline for employees. Just say what you do.

If you want to have some fun, try the Dilbert Mission Statement generator, or the B.S. generator which is really good for generating PowerPoint buzzwords.

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8 Responses to “What’s in YOUR Mission Statement?”

  1. MrSarcastic on September 29th, 2008:

    Spot on, Stapper. Mission statements often are clunky amalgamations of corporate speak and flavor-of-the-month buzz words.

    I’ve personally had the “pleasure” of sitting on the mission statement committee (shudder) at two organizations. The end result was mumbo jumbo that got engraved on a plaque, hung outside the cafeteria with much fanfare and then largely forgotten.

    To me it feels like you look at who you are – or who you want to be – and that’s your mission statement: We listen to the consumer and build the widget the consumer wants and believes in.

    That’s it.

    Stop all these “endeavors” and “synergistically” and “scalable” stuff. If all your employees don’t know what it means – how are they supposed to live it?

  2. Bryan Stapp on September 29th, 2008:

    At AT&T they took the mission statement to the next level. They called it “Our Common Bond” and created business card sized four-panel brochures designed to fit in your wallet or men’s shirt pocket. We all died laughing when the concept was introduced on a company wide satellite broadcast and the two execs on the TV whipped them out of their shirt pocket and one said to the other “I carry Our Common Bond with me right here where it’s close to my heart”!

  3. MrSarcastic on September 29th, 2008:
  4. MrSarcastic on September 29th, 2008:


  5. Ari Herzog on September 29th, 2008:

    Cheers, Brian. I know exactly what you mean! I figured I’d reciprocally comment over here!

  6. Bryan Stapp on September 29th, 2008:

    A quick update for you on this posting, and my thoughts on how Starbucks should revamp their mission statement. Last week I stayed at the Lodge in Torrey Pines and they offer a local coffee for their in-room coffee makers. On the back of the package for the Ryan Brothers Coffee is this statement: “We are passionate about selecting, roasting and blending unique coffees that create a ritual experience which bonds customers and friends in special relationships.” The coffee is fantastic, too. http://www.ryanbroscoffee.com

  7. “Starbucks Instant”? File Under “Really Bad Idea” | Loud Amplifier Marketing on September 29th, 2008:

    […] thought Starbucks was all about the experience and building friendships? Maybe they took their mission statement the wrong […]

  8. Radman on September 29th, 2008:

    Is there a way to recieve a review of this?