Why Do Mission Statements All Sound the Same?

If I broke in and stole all the mission, vision, value statement plaques, mixed them up and replaced them, would anybody notice?

Timespan gives us insight.

We are very good at planning. Planning is temporal, mostly short term, rarely extending out more than 12 months. And, we are good at it. We can imagine the specific requirements, resources, people, interim checkpoints, quality standards, inspections, proofing and format of the final output. All of this is tangible, concrete.

Beyond tangible concrete ideas, are intangible conceptual ideas. Measured in timespan, those ideas are further into the future. And we are not very good at thinking in those terms, much less expressing ourselves in writing.

But, we are told we must. We must think about the future. We must think about the future of our organization and we must do so in the form of organizing documents, mission, vision, values. And, we struggle

Sure, we can dream, but most dreams lack meaning, and it is meaning that drives our organizing documents. Those organizing documents are in the pursuit of meaning. A company can dictate a purpose, well laid out in a plan, but to gain enrollment from our teams, the mission of the company seeks to define its meaning. Without meaning, it all falls apart, eventually.

Meaning is seldom found in a 12 month plan. Meaning requires us to think further into the future. We are mostly ill-equipped to do this. We don’t spend much time thinking conceptually and when we do, we all sound the same. Hence most mission statements sound the same. “To be the premier provider, serving our customer with value add, providing shareholder value for their investment.”

What is meaningful about what your organization does?
What is captivating to your organization’s imagination?
What is helpful to your community?
What will sustain your organization beyond your 12 month plan?

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