Richard Burke, chairman of Trek Bicycle, passed away today at age 73. Starting out in a red barn in Waterloo, Wisconsin, Trek has become the largest bicycle manufacturing company in the United States, and second in the world.
There’s a great interview of Richard in Inc. Magazine from a couple of years ago. click here I was struck by what he said about Trek’s mission statement. As you’ll see, it is clear, it is compelling, and it is energizing.“We’ve never been a great strategic planning company. I put down a mission statement that’s still in place today [after thirty years]. It says we’re going to provide our customers with quality products at competitive value and deliver them on time. We are going to create a positive environment for our customers and employees. And we are going to make money. That’s what we did.”
I’ve always felt that Laura Beth Jones, author of The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and Life, nailed what goes into good mission statements: They are usually a single sentence. They can be understood by a 12 year old. And they can be recite at gunpoint, if necessary. Okay, Trek’s mission was three sentences. Do you doubt that everyone who works there knows what it is?
Successful organizations have a mission statement – or more to the point, a sense of missionary zeal about what they do. I came across the mission statement for a small human resource consulting firm a while back: Provide world-class human resource consulting services, and have a life.
How’s that for a compelling purpose?
Quick! What’s your mission statement? Does is pass the Jones test?