Do You Have A Mission Statement? Mon 17 Sep 07
The other day while surfing on CNN I came across an interesting article, CNN Heroes: The men of Apollo about the documentary movie "In the Shadow of the Moon". The movie is about the Apollo astronauts and their memories of the Apollo missions. From time immemorial, man has looked at the moon and wondered what it would be like to walk on it. I've always kind of envied Neil Armstrong for being able to be the one.
What caught my attention in the CNN article is when they used one of my favorite President Kennedy quotes:
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth."
What I've always admired about this quote is that is one of the best examples of a mission statement that I've ever seen. I like its clarity. It gets right to the point. It succinctly tells us what we are trying to do and when we need to have it done. You don't see that very often anymore.
Over at Man on a Mission blog they list mission statements from quite a few companies. Frankly most of them aren't very good. Typically, they're too long and written more as advertisements and leave you wondering about what it is exactly they are trying to do. Take a look at a few of them. If you read some of them without knowing what company they are for you might have a very hard time of figuring out what they are trying to accomplish.
Arguably, Kennedy's statement may not be comparable to all these company mission statements since it is not the mission statement for the government but for a single project. Writing a mission statement for a project should be simpler since the mission is so much more focused than the mission for an organization.