Think Iíll try
something new. Something bold and exciting. I know. Iíll start a business.
What do I need?
Letís see. An idea for a product that
offers unique or competitively priced value. A market for my product. A
marketing plan to create demand for my product. Investment capital to help
me develop, produce, warehouse, market, and deliver my product. What else?
Might have to hire and train a few employees. Of course, Iíll need to file
a few forms with the government regarding taxes, etc. No problem.
Is that everything? Oh, yes. A mission
statement. Should be easy, especially since Iíve given my idea so much
To be effective, my mission statement
Describe what my organization aspires to
Identify my core values
Connect my mission to my stakeholders in
a meaningful way
Be both inspiring and unique, both
general and specific
Use word choice and sentence structure
to create a pleasing sound
I should have done this long ago. Itís
like falling off a log. So hereís my statement: "Our mission is to make
the world a better place."
Perfect! Well, maybe not. Itís certainly
inspiring, but itís not unique. Itís general, but not specific. Needs to
be all four.
Okay, second draft: "To inspire and
nurture the human spirit." I like it, I like it. But itís still too
Now if I go with my idea of selling
coffee by opening a chain of coffeehouses around the world, I should
probably refer to my product in some way. Letís see. I know: "To inspire
and nurture the human spirit Ė one person, one cup, and one neighborhood
at a time." Yes! Now Iím cooking on all four burners. I mean, roasting.
My statement works not only because itís
both inspiring and unique, both general and specific, but also because it
avoids jargon and it uses sentence structure to good effect. Note the
emphasis created by the dash (use a dash for dashing effect, as they say)
and by the repetition "one . . . one . . . one . . ." I mean, itís not "I
have a dream . . . I have a dream . . ." but itís the same idea. Simple,
straightforward, appropriate to its subject, in this case not the American
spirit and our ideal of social justice, but coffee served to real
individuals in real neighborhoods.
When I compare my statement to a
competitorís Ė "To create an experience that makes the day better by
focusing on three key elements: high-quality, differentiated product,
coffeehouse environment, and dedication to customer service" Ė I know I
have the advantage, even if my competitor has neat-sounding paragraphs
under each of those three elements.
Iím equally pleased when I look at
another competitorís statement: "To be a center of excellence for
community gathering that brings good taste, conversation, and provides a
relaxing environment to peopleís lives," which is flawed by cliches and
Piece of cake. I mean, cup of coffee.
Ah, I can just smell those coffee beans roasting. Yum!