Jim Collins and a few other notables penned an update recently on Peter Drucker's book The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization.
I've talked and written about this book in the past but will repeat myself over the next few days. This is just plain good stuff and good stuff needs to be repeated. I believe it was C.S. Lewis that said a book isn't really read unless it is re-read.
1st, today....Mission Statements. Drucker said it well; a mission cannot be impersonal. It has to have deep meaning, be something you believe in – something you know is right. A fundamental responsibility of leadership is to make sure that everybody knows the mission, understands it, and lives it.
Drucker went on to say that it needed to be short, sharp, focused and should fit on a T-shirt. My personal mission statement is much bigger than that (I guess it depends upon the size of the shirt), but it also flows into my vision, or plan.
Mission statements should rarely, if ever, change. Visions, like our eyesight, does change. I've had two mission statements presented to me in the past week that, while well thought out and well written, were much more than a mission, but a plan, values, and other things all rolled in. It is hard to fulfill such.
The mission says why you do what you do, not the means by which you do it. The mission is broad, yet directs you to do the right things now and into the future regardless of the path and circumstances. The mission statement must be clear and precise.
From the book - Every truly great organization strives to preserve the core mission, yet stimulate progress. The core mission remains fixed while operating practices, cultural norms, strategies, tactics, process, structures, and methods continually change in response to changing realities. It is the glue that holds an organization together as it expands, decentralizes, globalizes, and attains diversity......In fact, the great paradox of change is that the organizations that best adapts to a changing world first and foremost know what should not change. They have a fixed anchor of guiding principles around which they can more easily change everything else. They know the difference between what is truly sacred and what is not, between what should never change and what should always be open for change, and between “what we stand for” and “how we do things.....Never subordinate the mission in order to make money. If there are opportunities that threaten the integrity of the organization, you must say no. Your mission provides guidance, not just about what to do, but equally about what not to do.
Whether I'm coaching an individual or a team, one of my key Path Points is - keep "What is our mission?" in front of you throughout the self-assessment process. Whether developing the plan, or identifying customers, or considering correction of a major blunder....
.......keep the mission statement out in front at all times.
To that end.....