When A Mission Statement Is More Hyperbole Than Alignment

In Entrepreneur Magazine Andre Lavoie provides ideas on vision and mission statements. Now ….. with all due respect to Andre, I once worked with a firm which made mission statements their magnum opus long before it became the maxim for about everyone. I have NEVER known a company or leader for that matter honor their touted mission statement emblazoned on a framed poster somewhere.

I guarantee you can stop any five people and hardly find anyone who knows your mission and vision. I have seen firms spend days at a retreat wrestling over the perfect words to embolden employees. Which is really silly when the leadership can’t recite the mission or vision either.

Why is their inability to master he language important? They forget how to apply principles to the mission. Here is an example of the perfect application of a mission statement and vision. You may disagree. You may be offended. You can learn from this example.                    Need a riveting speaker? Click here to hire Jim Woods. 

There is no better example of this in my 30 years as a consultant the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints i.e. The Mormons. Literally every activity, every meeting, I say this without exaggeration, is centered around the the three fold mission and vision. In fact they are recited often. Try that in your company.

You’ll see why I disagree with Andre. Below is one idea I can agree with by Andre. When Johnson and Johnson faced immolation resulting from the Tylenol scare they took liberties which Perrier that once powerful bottler of spring water did not. Johnson and Johnson as once expert said had as much chance of surviving as their president in turning water from the cooler into wine.

Johnson and Johnson went back to their mission statement of many years ago. They faced the challenge head on. They got out in front. They immediately removed all Tylenol from the shelves and worked relentlessly with authorities. Contrast this with Perrier. They had problems with water only to create one of the greatest marketing blunders  when their brand was a household name.

Writes Andre:

Rule(s) of thumb:

  • Use clear, concise language.
  • Use present tense.
  • Project five years in the future.
  • Use inspirational language.
  • Be brief and memorable.

If a mission statement is part of a change program, it is, then there is a greater problem: A) more than 70% of change programs fail and B) more than 50% of employees are disengaged.

I repeat, no one in your organization can recite your mission statement verbatim. Think about it. Jim

Jim Woods, Leadership speaker, Human Resources Consultant, Business Coach

Jim Woods is president of the Jim Woods Group a strategy and leadership management consulting firm. Click here to hire Jim to speak.

He has an absolute passion for people development and are constantly refining and adapting his programs in order to ensure that they have the maximum impact on those we serve.


Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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Posted in Change, Entrepreneurship

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