Thursday, January 14, 2010

Clarity in Mission Aids Effectiveness

Particularly in ages of uncertainly, people crave clarity and connection. Mission statements can provide it, when they are grounded in practicality and at the core a larger ideology that speaks to desired accomplishments, behaviors and impressions.

Stefan Stern questions the need for mission statements in his blog for The Financial Times. He does so in the context of the current issues with Google in China. The question of Google's "mission statement" is fascinating. Stern suggests "don't be evil" is cliche and over-reaching, that it is trouble for the company. Perhaps, yet others might suggest it is brilliant and a true indicator that Google sees no boundaries in the potential for its products or service offerings of the future. For me, it smacks of an operating principle that got packaged into a mission statement.

A powerful mission statement helps people within the organization understand its purpose. It is specific to the organization's culture and a cornerstone for decision-making at all levels. Mission statements driven by dreams and lacking context may inspire yet they rarely provide clarity to someone searching for purpose.
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