First off this isn’t about what you might think from the title. It’s actually about my first introduction to the old military acronym K.I.S.S. – “Keep It Simple Stupid” and mission statements. A long time ago, as a brand new 2nd Lieutenant fresh out of college I was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course. At the welcoming meeting, the colonel told us about the Field Artillery’s mission statement. Although everything in it is no doubt true, it certainly wasn’t very memorable and didn’t tell me a thing about what I needed to do. The current mission statement reads (I don’t have a clue what it was back then):
“The mission of the Field Artillery is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy by cannon, rocket and missile fire and to help integrate all fire support assets into combined arms operations.”
It is hardly the inspiration you need to get enthused about your job and probably not something anyone would put on a t-shirt or a business card as a way to describe what you are all about. Fortunately, our platoon sergeant got us on the right path and told us all we really needed to know. (Why does it seem that it is the sergeants of the world that have all the real answers? I might save that for a future blog post.) He explained that it was really very simple. All we had to do was “Move, shoot and communicate”.
Now that is something I can understand! The KISS principle came through. With those 3 simple words I knew what was important and what I better focus on learning to do.
Throughout my career, I’ve seen a lot of mission statements. Although many of them very simply and concisely stated the mission I’ve yet to see one as good as “Move, shoot and communicate”. Even IBM’s “Think” and HP’s “Invent” seem to have been replaced.
Taking my lead from “Move, shoot and communicate” I given a lot of thought to what is the mission of IT and come up with “Communicate, Execute, Adapt”. I’ll discuss each of these elements in future posts. Oh, by the way I have put that on a shirt and business cards.
Communicate • Execute • Adapt