The Corporate Mission Statement:
Where good intentions go to Die.
Toad the Wet Sprocket once said "It's hard to rely on my good intentions, when my head's full of things I can't mention."
They may have well been writing about corporate mission statements.
Far too often mission statement is simply a collection of trendy buzzwords stuffed in an over-wrought sentence and hung on the wall to die.
Your mission statement is dead if:
- It is more than ten words long.
- The employees were not asked to participate in its development.
- The employees can't remember and recite it.
- Leadership is not using it as a regular barometer of the company's actions.
- It is not reviewed annually to ensure it is still applicable to the company.
A few years ago...
Posted on the lobby wall were the corporate values and mission statement.
I read it. Repeatedly.
It was a lengthy document written in calligraphic font on sepia paper and framed in gold gilt. It described a company that valued
- mutually beneficial relationships
- community mindedness
- blah blah blah....
I laughed out loud.
I was a vendor to the mill. I had requested a meeting with the EVP to discuss his practice of arbitrarily discounting our invoices, and his habit of spreading false rumours internally about our company.
I knew the EVP's purpose was to have us break our contract so he could hire his preferred provider. I knew because he told me so.
Five minutes.... ten.... twenty ....thirty minutes past our scheduled appointment I waited. He finally opened the door and waved me in.
45 pointless minutes later...
I offered to tear up the paperwork and release him from our contract.....as long as he paid everything he owed us immediately.
He snapped his fingers and instructed the controller to cut a cheque.
As I was leaving his office for the last time I turned back.
"Have you ever read your company's values? Because you sure don't live them out."
He laughed out loud.
We never did business again.