Oh To Leverage Synergies

joe —  Sun 22-Jan-12 — 4 Comments
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SOTPWould 75% of the people in the world writing vision and mission statements please stop.

Seriously. Just stop now. They are bad and doing more harm than good.

If you are president of a company and want to know if yours is worth a sparrow’s fart, just ask your employees. Scared to do that? Try the Mission Generator website and see if it sounds anything like yours.

It shouldn’t.

Many companies don’t know a good vision or mission statement because they don’t understand why they exist in the first place. These statements are first and foremost for your employees, not the stock market,“Everyone has one, so should we,” just doesn’t cut it. “It tastes like chicken” is not a compliment.

Mission StatementI believe that mission statements exist to give permission for employees to ask for forgiveness. If your mission is to “delight the customer in every interaction,” your help desk employee should know that she would be rewarded, not punished, if she were to break the status quo to go outside conventional manners in the name of the mission.

The same goes with value statements. Value statements describe how you will walk the talk. If you value passion, reward efforts done with great passion, even if it wasn’t what you asked.

An associate needs to have the freedom to do their job in the way they think best meets the vision, mission and values that a company professes. If your corporate trinity doesn’t truly paint a compelling picture that employees can use as everyday enablers then you don’t have one.

Bad mission statementFollow an author’s simple rule – if there’s not a fantastic story to be told, don’t write a book. Barnes and Noble is full of books that get ignored and waste valuable space. Don’t go through the motions unless what you write will inspire and direct your company in a way that it wouldn’t otherwise go.

Meaningless words are not meaningless; they are very detrimental to a corporation. Crafting a meaningless mission statement is far worse than not having one. If a person cannot see themselves in the statement, they likely can’t identify with the future of the company.

Again, if you are not sure whether yours are effective, just ask – and then consider making open and honest communication one of your values.

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  • DivineVibe

    Boy howdy, I could not AGREE MORE!!!  

    Words do have meaning and the sooner we get that through our thick, over-programmed, mindless zombie-walking brains the better.  Define your personal values and question everything that has been handed to you by society, parents, history, companies and your friends.  Once we begin defining our own personal heart-associated values can we truly begin having real conversations.  This programming mentality has got to be stopped inside us all and guess what??  Only YOU can stop the programming … so get busy folks.Joe, thank you for ‘ringing the bell’ to our consciousness in what we do and how we act.  Your contribution to this planet is phenomenal and I am thankful that you keep me questioning in your articles.Here’s my mission statement:We are not a company, WE ARE A COLLECTIVE OF CONTRIBUTORS!

    • http://thestrandedstarfish.com Joe Kleinwaechter

       Always love your words, Ms. DV.  Thank you for giving us all such an aspirational look at life.

  • http://twitter.com/andrewmfuqua Andrew Fuqua

    Great article, Joe.

    For those wanting some actionable advice (but not too much), there is a nice treatment of this topic in chapter 9 of Jurgen Appelo’s book “Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders”. It’s certainly a great book for any organization involved with software development, but it is also useful for those managing knowledge workers in general.

    • http://thestrandedstarfish.com Joe Kleinwaechter

       Thanks Andrew. Your the second person this week to mention that book to me. Guess I need to put in on the reading list.