May 25, 2020
RALLY THE TROOPS: Does Your Team Have a Mission Statement?

Shared sense of purpose.jpg

A team is a group of people who work together toward a common goal -- a group with a defined membership and a set of activities that define the scope of its work.

The key phrase in the preceding sentence? Common goal. When the common goal is clear, compelling, and embraced by team members, good things usually happen. When the common goal is not clear, compelling, or embraced by team members, symptoms of team dysfunction begin to manifest.

The common goal of a team is its mission. Its purpose. Its reason for being. Why people get out of bed in the morning.

A team's mission statement clarifies the what, who, and why it exists. It is not a vision statement. A vision statement evokes what will be. A mission statement declares what is.

What follows are inspiring examples of organizational mission statements. Notice how specific they are... how practical... and how inspiring! If your team is lacking a mission statement, consider the following as "grist for the mill."

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Google: "To organize the world's information and make it universally useful and accessible."

AT&T: "Being the world's best at bringing people together -- giving them easy access to each other and to the information and services they want and need -- anytime, anywhere."

Ben & Jerry: "Make, distribute, and sell the finest quality all-natural ice cream and related products in a wide variety of innovative flavors made from Vermont daily products."

Binney & Smith: "Produce the best quality, safest products for colorful visual expression for enjoyment, learning and work."

Nike: "Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world."

Microsoft: "Empower people through great software -- any time, any place, and on any device."

Steelcase: "Help people work more effectively."

American Red Cross: "Provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies."

Life Is Good: "Spread the power of optimism."

Nordstrom: "To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible."

Prezi: "To reinvent how people share knowledge, tell stories, and inspire their audiences to act."

Tesla: "To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy."

TED: "Spread ideas."

PS: Words matter. And so does the intention behind the words. For example, if you are a member of an IT team, which of the following mission statements are more likely to get you out of bed in the morning?

"We fix stuff that employees can't figure out or don't have the patience to figure out, so they constantly badger us to work long hours and solve their problems when we have lots of other, more important things to do."

"We empower our colleagues to master the tools of technology so they can achieve extraordinary results in the simplest, most powerful, and least stressful way possible."

Idea Champions
Illustrations: gapingvoid

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at May 25, 2020 03:15 AM

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