We’ve said it a million times before, and we’ll say it again: corporate mission statements are a waste of time and energy. Congratulations to all the consultants who are able to convince clients to pony up big bucks to go through the exercise.
No better illustration of our thesis than the output we came upon here, on SlideShare (which, for those unfamiliar with the site, does exactly what its name implies). Memory fails us as to how we found the presentation – either someone at LinkedIn or on SlideShare itself felt it was worthy to, um, share.
In any case, we were entranced, bad-car-crash-on-the-other-side-of-the-highway style. The presentation began with this teaser:
“At the beginning of 2013, [name of company]’s leaders got together for a series of offsite planning meetings. There, we wrote out the [name of company] Way. It’s a statement of how we work. It expresses our values.”
[name of company hidden to protect the alleged innocent…]
A series of offsites? Wow, this must be good.
What followed that introductory slide was a Guinness World Record-worthy collection of HR/business buzzwords, 29 pages worth. Stuff like this:
>>> We set big aggressive goals and then we focus on hitting them.
>>> We are never complacent.
>>> We learn from our mistakes and try not to repeat the same mistake twice.
>>> Our [name of company] formula…the best place in the world to work.
Imagine 25 other pages just like the above. Hats off to the consultant(s) who was/were able to produce this tripe for a no-doubt rewarding pay day.
We thought the output was hackneyed and undifferentiating (the definition of buzzword, we suppose), and said so in the comments section.
Someone responded to our comment – the consultant we believe – and asked us to do better. In ten minutes we created this:
“We design smiles.
For ourselves, in how we treat each other and work together to get great work done.
For designers, by surpassing every definition there is of "service excellence."
For consumers, by creating unexpected emotional connections to the most innovatively designed products in the world.
Never satisfied. Always challenging. Forever learning. And succeeding, humbly but with the passion to do it all over again.
We are [name of company].
You will think so, too.
The smile will give you away.”
This doesn’t mean we have stopped believing that mission statements are a drain. Our point is this – if you really want one, take no more than four hours and six employees to develop it. Have a copywriter polish it off. Then go back to running your business (and marketing ;-).