Mission – statement or embodiment?

Some years ago Ned Herrmann talked about consulting with a company where the chief executive was very proud of the company mission statement.  “All employees have this statement on a wallet size card and carry it with with them everywhere.  Ned thought this was a great idea until he actually talked to an employee or two.

“The mission statement is a joke”, one said.  We had no role in writing it – and the people who did don’t follow it.

Mission is a word borrowed from the world of religions. There it talks about seeking supporters who will actually become disciples and adherents of what is felt to be important.  It’s not about what people say but about who they are.  Whether we are dealing with the corporate world, the not-for-profit world, or even the world of the individual, the principle still applies.  Tony Buzan once observed, “Preach what you practise – not the other way around”.  In the end it will be the only message that has any meaning.