Mission vs. Missionlessness

Today most organizations - non-profit and for-profit - have a Mission Statement.

But if you take a random sample and read some of them (click here to take a look at about 40 Mission Statement from different companies in several industries), you will find that many organizations have Mission Statements that are abstract, too long, and with pretentious declarations that are difficult to be acted on, can be misremembered, or are simply ignored by employees.

To use your Mission as an effective leadership tool in order to help you attract the right of the best talent, motivate them, and align and optimize organizational performance, you must do the following:

First of all, you must know why your organization exists; what is its contribution to society; what is the value it creates for its customers. The Mission of your organization is its most fundamental reason for being.

I am not talking about what your organization does – I am talking about why your organization exists. This is not about what you sell - this is about what you stand for.

Do you know what is the purpose of your organization?

Second, once you know what the Mission of your organization is - then and only then - you may write it as a Mission Statement. Please note: Some of the best performing organizations don't have written Mission Statements - but boy, are they on a Mission.

If you decide to write it as a Mission Statement, make sure you make it straightforward, crystal-clear, and concise. The shorter the better - some people claim that it should have no more than eight words, using the format: Verb, target, and outcome.

Take a look at the page that I mentioned above with the 40 or so examples of Mission Statements by clicking here, and you will generally see that the shorter statements are the most effective.

And third, whether you wrote your Mission Statement or not, but once you know what the Mission of your organization is, then your job is to translate your company's Mission into a noble purpose in the eyes of your workforce - you have to be able to get to the point where your employees visualize your company's Mission as a dignified purpose that rises above any short-term financial profits.

The real force of your organization's Mission is not found in the Mission itself, nor in your written Mission Statement, but in your capacity to transform your organization's Mission into a live force embodied in every behavior of every single worker.

The strength of your company's Mission resides in your employees' conviction, passion, and aligned behaviors with such purpose.

The fuel of your Mission is when your employees identify themselves with the Mission of your organization, they feel passionate about it, and they understand it as a reason worth working for that transcends any temporary financial gains - remember, making just a return in the stockholders' interest does not motivate anyone.

Conclusion: Your company's Mission - among other devices - is one of the most powerful leadership tools you can use to create organizational high performance.

Is your organization on a Mission? Or despite your company's ostentatious Mission Statement, is it Missionlessness?

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See you next month!
Jose Luis Romero - Publisher
June 7, 2011. Copyright: All rights reserved
I publish "Leader Newsletter" on the first Tuesday of every month

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