Your organization has a mission statement, right? How about your team?
Laurie Beth Jones, author of The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and Life, suggests three criteria for a good mission statement:
- It should be a single sentence.
- It should be understandable by a 12-year-old.
- You should be able to recite it at gunpoint if needed.
I’d add a fourth: it should be compelling.
The Parks and Recreation Department for a mid-sized city reviewed their own mission statement and found it both wordy and boring. It went something like this: “Our mission to plan, develop, and maintain public parks and provide recreational opportunities for all citizens.” True enough, but with a bit of brainstorming and engaged thought, they came up with this:
City of Brentwood Parks and Recreation: We deliver joy.
Yowsa! Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?
Too many organization or team mission statements go something like this: “Our mission is to continue to provide real-time access to diverse products and services to stay relevant in tomorrow’s world. (That’s not actually real, it was created by a random mission statement generator on the web. But it soundsreal, right?)
Compare that business-speak with Pepsi’s mission statement:
Which one you gonna remember? Which one is compelling?
Here’s a thought. Play with your team’s mission statement (or create one from scratch, if you haven’t got one). Ask your team: What do we do? Why is that important? Why is that important? And why is that important? Aim to create your team’s equivalency to “We delivery joy.”
When you’ve got something that grabs you – something you could put on a t-shirt people would love to wear – you’ve got a compelling Mission Statement.