Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vision, Mission and all that claptrap

Every organisation worth its salt has a vision and mission statement. Often crafted by expensive consultants. Those that can't differentiate between the two, have a single statement that's both a vision and a mission. Those who profess to know the difference, have two statements. They are often held in reverential awe. I suggest they must be binned as unadulterated claptrap.

Firstly these motherhood statements have virtually no meaning. Take these examples

"To experience the joy of advancing and applying technology for the benefit of the public" - Sony

"To help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential"- Microsoft

"Ford Motor Company is focused on creating a strong business that builds great products that contribute to a better world "- Ford

Can anybody decipher what they mean other than Mom and Apple Pie ?

Some are laughable . Take these for example

"To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women – globally." - Avon. Really ?? The self fulfillment need of many women is to watch Saas Bahu serials. By that standard Avon must be in the business of making TV soaps.

"Saving people money so they can live better" - Walmart. Oh Yeah ? The best way to save people money is to tell them not to buy the stuff they don't need.

"Be the best in the eyes of our customers, employees and shareholders" - American Standard. Ha Ha. Fat chance.

I am not at all sure who these Mission Statements are written for. It certainly can't be for employees. 99.99% of employees work only to earn a salary. Their daily job is  a mind numbing grind - answering emails, yelling at people, doing phone calls, looking busy and doing some boring piddly stuff. Not achieving some lofty mission. For more than two decades I was supposed to "meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life". I did nothing of that sort. I wrote ledgers, closed books of accounts, borrowed money and helped put people in other countries out of a job. I certainly did not, and do not,  look good (aaaahhhh, if only ) and as for feeling good, we shall let it pass without an unparliamentary comment !

I hereby suggest a common mission statement for all businesses - " To make money in whatever way possible". If some would like to add the words legally and ethically at the end, that's optional.

PS - With all due apologies to Stephen Covey who wishes to make people like you and me write a mission statement for life !