Make Your Mission Statement Actually Mean Something

A book search on Amazon.com for “mission statement” produced 29, 303 results.

Wow!  I suppose that means there’s a lot of interest in the topic – or a lot of help needed!

Cartoon: tomfishburne.com

Cartoon: tomfishburne.com

For sure, companies devote precious time and dedicate significant resources on a variety of strategic identity work, including mission statements.  Some is well-spent, others not so much.

A mission statement should be a catalyst to drive the organization forward in the same direction.  To do that, it should be:

  1. Simple and easy to understand across the company;
  2. Provide an embraceable call-to-action for the entire team;
  3. Foster a positive, motivational and forward-looking spirit.

I like this mission statement from a restaurant in Longboat Key, Fl called The Lazy Lobster of Longboat:

Logo: Lazy Lobster.

Logo: Lazy Lobster restaurant.

Our mission is to be the neighborhood choice for our guests and their families; proudly providing a casual atmosphere that consistently exceeds their expectations.  Great food, high energy and honest friendly people are the keys to our success.  We’re a fun place to go where you can get anything you want and it will ALWAYS BE GREAT!

The last phrase really caught my attention:  it will always be great.  This simple call-to-action quickly encapsulates the winning recipe of providing a great customer experience across-the board.  If everyone on the restaurant team adopts such a mindset, and acts accordingly, the success odds go way up.

As a Lazy Lobster customer the last few years, I can attest that the mission statement does come to life.  (Note:  I received no compensation of any type for this post.  In fact, the owner did not respond to my questions.)

Marketer Tom Fishburne, whose cartoon poked fun at babble mission statements, offered this tough assessment in his accompanying commentary:

“Sure, all businesses have mission statements.  But most are meaningless fluff.  It doesn’t matter that a mission statement is hung on the wall, painted in calligraphy, or chiseled in stone; a meaningless mission statement is still a meaningless mission statement.”

Take a look at your company’s mission statement.  Does it meet the three points I outlined?  If not, fix it or get rid of it.

Headline

Mission statements don’t have to be so complicated.  Take a lesson from The Lazy Lobster restaurant in Longboat Key, Florida.  Make your mission statement meaningful.

Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.

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