Corporate Mission Statement Examples of What Not to Do

Corporate Mission Statement Examples are loaded with examples of just what you shouldn’t do. Here’s how to make yours better.

For today’s transparent business, and those struggling to get up to speed on today’s business culture, the Mission Statement is something of a misnomer.

You’re not on a mission. You may be out “to make a statement” but more than likely simply making a statement will seem too risky.

Making a statement though is one of those cases where the reward outweighs the risk. Like a lot of things we talk about here, the process earns you the reward, and it’s always the one who makes the right statement who earns the reward. Hence the cliche.

Really making a statement requires a certainty and a willingness to stand your ground. Doing a mission statement should be a positive step for HR toward developing a corporate culture and NOT a provocative statement of the lofty ideals of a disconnected and largely absent management – or worse – ownership.

If owners are not involved in management, they shouldn’t be involved in the mission, culture or values either. There is nothing worse for your culture than having values or mission dictated from on high. It degrades your workforce, provokes resentment and denigrates your mission no matter what you think your mission ought to be.

Think about it. Does your staff really share the same values as upper management?

The easy answer is, they probably do. But simply dictating any list of values is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS a ticket to rejection.

Your mission is going to be the same way. If you just get a draft from your copywriter, then you can’t expect people to be interested in it, to adhere to it or to even read it.

It’s boilerplate. Failed mission statement examples are always bad boilerplate copy that just isn’t going to cut it with today’s engaged, focused and values-loving workforce.

Needless to say, your mission statement is probably not something you can simply survey your entire workforce to compile. It’s not a bad idea though. If you have the resources (like say, a free SurveyMonkey account), then surveying is not a bad idea. This article was, in fact, gestated by a NimbleSchedule customer who used their weekly schedule mailing to invite all their staff to a survey on the latest draft of the mission statement.

Very often, staff have a much better idea of your customers than do upper management. Your Mission Statement needs to be drafted from that perspective and to meet those needs. Are those the needs that upper management thinks about?

In short, your mission statement needs to develop into a concise statement of your business strategy, values and the service or product you provide. If your staff are determining the vision that animates all of the above, then so much the better. Answering these three questions is essential:

  • What do we do?

The question being asked is “Why do your customers buy from you?” Think psychology, not product delivered. Again, no one is better prepared to answer this question than the people doing the selling. Include them in answering this question.

  • Why do we do it?

You don’t need to get philosophical or soft here to answer this question. And just like above, not every employee can answer in a way that’s going to be useful. It’s not necessarily a question of your company values, but of meeting the needs of your customers. The more information you can get about customers, the more useful you can make your mission statement.

  • Who is our customer?

For lots of companies, there will be multiple answers here. They sell to multiple customers or groups of customers and many of them are wildly divergent. You may be able to find common traits that many of them share, but the process of doing so can take some time. Again, talk to your people. Make sure your copywriter is interviewing, if not interrogating, and, thoroughly reviewing any surveys conducting.

Your mission statement is NOT as valuable as the culture it contributes too. But, it is an easy way for customers and employees to evaluate who you are and what your brand and business are all about. It may and should evolve. Let it. Like everything else we write about here, involve as many of your people as possible, and anonymously is just as good. Let them have it. They will thank you for the opportunity, and they’ll be part of your mission, too. As well they should be.


Photo on this page: Caribú © Wikimedia Commons by Caribú

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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