No More Mission Statements
Almost no one, and I mean that literally, can recite their organization’s MISSION STATEMENT. This is true in the For Profit world as well as the Not For Profit. Mission Statements are often wordy, watered down, all inclusive, politically correct gobblety gook, written with a thesaurus, by a committee. You can test this if you want. Ask any three staff or volunteers to recite, in unison, your Mission Statement (without looking.) Then laugh when they fail miserably.
The real goal is to have a MESSAGE that is CLEAR, COMPELLING and CONCISE that can be delivered CONSISTENTLY. Your MESSAGE should be able to be captured on a NAPKIN and communicated in as few words as possible. Take a tip from the political world and STAY ON MESSAGE!
Compare the above to Mother Theresa’s Mission Statement: “We must radiate God’s love.”
It’s not just your organization that has trouble with Mission Statements – It’s a universal problem. A favorite example from a great, 100 year old company:
This could be the ugliest, least inspiring, can’t believe they wrote it, Mission Statement ever.
However, look at the message that is engraved or even tattooed on many a ‘iron horse’, ‘hog’, or body:
LIVE TO RIDE. RIDE TO LIVE.
So, don’t worry about trying to ‘change’ your Mission Statement. Leave it alone. It’s too painful a process. Just work on your MESSAGE!
3 Big Keys: SIMPLICITY. BREVITY. CLARITY.
It takes 3 pages just to ‘introduce’ your organization as a preface to a 30-page proposal or grant request! (For $2,000.)
Think about the power of the following Messages:
“We’ll put a man on the moon before the end of decade.”
“I have a dream.”
“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
“He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.”
“1,000 Points of Light.”
“Just Do It.”
“Like a Rock.”
“Live to Ride. Ride to Live.”
Bottom line: WHAT’S your MESSAGE???