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Frank Hovis

Mission Statements

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Of all the developments that have happened in the world of work since I started this wins for me as the biggest waste of effort.

They can run on for a page or more; they are a major item for boards who agonise over every phrase.  They go out for staff consultation, they come back, they are revised again.

Then they are published in the Annual Report and on the website. And never read by any customer or member of staff ever again.

When it comes to pointless corporate box ticking that serves absolutely zero purpose but takes up a vast amount of paid senior time then the Mission Statement has no equal IMHO.

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I have always regarded a Mission Statement as an admittance of failure.  They seem to be loved by the moronic elements in management teams.

If the staff of an organisation doesn't know what they are there to do then something is really very wrong with that organisation.

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Just one more thing that served a purpose, but has been bastardised beyond all recognition.

You can't underestimate the power of a good mission statement. Adam Crozier tells of his experience at Nike where you could ask any person what their job was and they'd all say the same thing - 'Kill Adidas'. Now that's a mission statement.

On the other hand 'Deliver an enhanced customer experience by leveraging enabling technologies and developing class leading innovative solutions' (I just made that up, I'm a middle manager, I could do 50 of these a day) isn't something anyone could get behind.

I'd add to this 'corporate values'. Most are just middle of the road nonsense, but some are very good. Disney is a great example. 

I can see why they get a bad press in certain sections, but you have to put yourself in the position of a manager with a range of strategic options for the company. It's not unreasonable in that situation to ask the question 'what are we actually trying to do and where do we want to take the company?'. The problem is that they don't want to overly commit, so most of the time come out with some wishy-washy ******** so that their balls don't end up on the line when the strategy fails.

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3 minutes ago, winkie said:

Just another elevator pitch.....;)

Don't get me started on the elevator pitch. Now that is ********. You really want me to try to condense the case for the continuation of a decade long R&D program that could still result in no product, or deliver something that will double the revenue of the business into a 1 minute pitch. Are you shitting me?

Having said that - I do like the one pager. Getting all the relevant information into a single page is a serious skill.

3 minutes ago, winkie said:

 

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5 minutes ago, frozen_out said:

Just one more thing that served a purpose, but has been bastardised beyond all recognition.

You can't underestimate the power of a good mission statement. Adam Crozier tells of his experience at Nike where you could ask any person what their job was and they'd all say the same thing - 'Kill Adidas'. Now that's a mission statement.

On the other hand 'Deliver an enhanced customer experience by leveraging enabling technologies and developing class leading innovative solutions' (I just made that up, I'm a middle manager, I could do 50 of these a day) isn't something anyone could get behind.

I'd add to this 'corporate values'. Most are just middle of the road nonsense, but some are very good. Disney is a great example. 

I can see why they get a bad press in certain sections, but you have to put yourself in the position of a manager with a range of strategic options for the company. It's not unreasonable in that situation to ask the question 'what are we actually trying to do and where do we want to take the company?'. The problem is that they don't want to overly commit, so most of the time come out with some wishy-washy ******** so that their balls don't end up on the line when the strategy fails.

Kill Adidas is a strategy though rather than a mission statement.

My co would like to make itself significantly bigger than the other big local rival by taking over smaller cos and we're steadily positioning ourselves to do that. But only certain people know this and it doesn't go into the mission statement despite it being our major aim for change; instead the MS is a statement of what we already do and saying that we're going to keep doing it. Only better, greener, fluffier etc.

Possibly that is the purpose then: a Mission Statement is for hiding your true intent.

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31 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Of all the developments that have happened in the world of work since I started this wins for me as the biggest waste of effort.

They can run on for a page or more; they are a major item for boards who agonise over every phrase.  They go out for staff consultation, they come back, they are revised again.

Then they are published in the Annual Report and on the website. And never read by any customer or member of staff ever again.

When it comes to pointless corporate box ticking that serves absolutely zero purpose but takes up a vast amount of paid senior time then the Mission Statement has no equal IMHO.

That's pretty much what I said when our board consulted staff on a mission statement. Waste of time and money. 

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It helps for an organisations staff to understand what the business is about. A good mission statement should only be a couple of lines long, at the most, and in plain language, not managementspeak.

BTW WRT Adidas/Nike, Agfa's famously was "Kill Kodak" a long time ago.

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Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) once posed as a consultant to develop a mission statement for a large company (might've been Hewlett-Packard, I forget) and for a while managed to get them to adopt the gibberish he made up for them.

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5 hours ago, SpectrumFX said:

Yes, I agree. A complete waste of time.

What should the HPC of topic mission statement be?

 

To boldly quote what no man has ever said before?

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