“The ultimate test of your (mission statement) is if your telephone operator can tell you what it is.” – Guy Kawasaki

… not that small companies have operators anymore.

I’m usually a bit skeptical about mission statements.  Perhaps because most I have seen are pretty weak, or crafted to send a message that is different from reality.  Perhaps because it’s hard to distill the purpose of a complex organization down to a simple statement. Or, perhaps it’s because no one wants to declare a statement of accountability  where there’s natural conflict between customers, shareholders, and the general public.

That doesn’t mean it’s not a worthwhile exercise.  I am biased toward Jim Collin’s idea of the Core Ideology, a set of fundamental beliefs that seldom if ever change.  That combined with the company Purpose covers the basics that provide a firm’s moral compass.  What’s left is then to make sure everyone knows it by heart.

The Boy Scouts start every meeting with the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.  It constantly reinforces Scouting’s Core Ideology that a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.  Something that doesn’t change and one remembers 40 years later.

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