What is Forever 21 Mission Statement
Elsewhere I have juxtaposed 6 great vision statements and their opposites. This is where the other side of the coin comes in: helpful examples of good and bad mission statements.
The Good: This is how mission statements should be
1. TED:"Spread Ideas."
Two words, that's all TED needs. It's all about this. Point.
2. Starbucks: "Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time."
Concrete, nice to read and noticeable. You know what market the company is in and how is answered.
3. Doctors Without Borders:"Doctors without Borders works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation."
One could ask oneself whether it is not a matter of course to take care of all people equally, but that is precisely what it is (unfortunately) not. The Mission Statement makes the specialty of the organization clear to differentiate itself from others, while at the same time it expresses what is actually being done - namely providing medical help.
4. Google: "Google’s mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
The classic among the best mission statements from companies. Crystal clear. And the example shows how a mission statement can be made concrete and still keep it timeless. Because it is just as fitting today as it was in the first days of Google.
5. ConocoPhillips: "Use our pioneering spirit to responsibly deliver energy to the world."
It is almost surprising that one day an energy company succeeds in formulating a real mission statement. Note that this does not include shareholder value and other self-referential phrases. Compliment! With the “pioneering spirit” there is an inspiring element, with “energy” it is clear what it is about and with “the world” the size of the mission becomes clear.
6. The Scooter Store: "To provide freedom and independence to people with limited mobility."
Great, altruistic, mission statement for a company. It's just a shame that it wasn't meant honestly. The company had to close - not least because of misleading advertising. More about it here. A well-written mission statement is not enough, it has to be lived.
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The Bad: Mission statements shouldn't be like that
1. American Standard’s: “To be the best in the eyes of our customers, employees and shareholders. "
Well that's what I call a badly unsuccessful attempt at self-motivation that disguises itself as a mission statement. Unfortunately, the statement says nothing about what the company is doing, what industry it is in and what it is for - and there is absolutely no direction. To be the best in everyone's eyes doesn't even say anything about whether you're just good stand there want or really good be would like to.
2. AmerisourceBergen: "To build shareholder value by delivering pharmaceutical and healthcare products, services and solutions in innovative and cost effective ways. We will realize this mission by setting the highest standards in service, reliability, safety and cost containment in our industry. "
The typical "building shareholder value" mission statement version. The fact that profitability logically belongs to every company seems to have escaped companies that obviously have to emphasize this in their mission. At the same time sad when it is obviously the sole and greatest purpose of the company.
3. Stage stores: "Our mission is to be America’s leading small town and neighborhood retailer dedicated to delivering desirable brand name family apparel with exceptional value and service!"
Classic case of confusion with a (and mediocre) vision. Unfortunately, just because the first few words are "Our mission is ..." doesn't make it a mission statement. A mission statement is not about “what we want to be”, but about who we are and what we do. However, this statement is only about the goal of how the company wants to be in the future. The last part hardly helps, also precisely because it says everything and therefore nothing.
4. Walt Disney: "The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world's leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world. "
Even global companies like Disney are not immune to mixing mission and vision. Perhaps it was also deliberately chosen to combine both - an approach that some consider to be sensible. But if this is actually the official wording, then Disney makes the same mistake as Stage Stores: Start with “our mission is” and then say what the vision is (namely to be a global leader in a certain area). Unfortunately, the company in this statement only revolves around itself ("the world's leading producers ..."). In a mission statement, however, it should rather be about what added value you can add to the other creates. In the same way that Google organizes information for people, Disney could also phrase it “to entertain people” or “to make them happy”. In addition, the statement is far too long and complex. I would like to meet the Disney employee in a Mickey Mouse costume who knows this "mission statement" by heart.
5. Citigroup: "Our goal for Citigroup is to be the most respected global financial services company. Like any other public company, we're obligated to deliver profits and growth to our shareholders. Of equal importance is to deliver those profits and generate growth responsibly. "
Here, too, the future goal is packaged as a mission and profit as the sole purpose. But at least Citigroup is honest enough to say it openly as “like any other public company, we…”.
6. Ducks Unlimited: "A world leader in wetlands conservation."
Duck Unlimited shows that non-profit organizations can also go wrong with mission statements. The statement is nice and short and sounds good, but here again: vision and mission mixed up. You can find out indirectly what purpose the organization is pursuing (something with the environment); but actually one would expect at least from an NPO that their mission statement is not primarily about themselves (world leaders), but rather that the emphasis is on what they want to do for others.
Many companies and organizations find it difficult to develop short, concise and at the same time concrete mission statements that actually deserve this name.
However, the first six examples of missions show that it is very possible. The purpose of the comparison with negative examples is not to practice “mission statement bashing”, but to use concrete examples to help understand what actually makes a successful mission statement. Because especially in the area of mission and vision, there is often a lot of confusion and confusion.
Last but not least, the differentiation between vision and mission is often not that easy - and an explicit separation may not always be necessary. More on this in the Related Articles.
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