In reading The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni I stumbled on a chapter that made me smile.
According to Lencioni, Mission Statements are a pox set upon the organizational world by an anti-business consultant sometime in the 1980's. My experience with Mission Statements in the church-world are that they are part of a "vision" process usually done in disconnected ways and usually are undertaken for the pastor to be seen as "doing something" and "leading". Mission statements are not the kind of clarifying excerise that folks, especially in church leadership paid or otherwise, should be wasting their one life doing. Here is the example that Lencioni used and that seals the deal... can you guess which company this is?
_______ Incorporated provides its customers with quality ______ products and the expertise required for making informed buying decisions. We provide our products and services with a dedication to the highest degree of integrity and quality of customer satisfaction, developing long-term professional relationships with employees that develop pride, creating a stable working environment and company spirit.*
Lencioni advocates for a much more "rigorous and unpretentious" approach to acheiving clarity of purpose and direction. Employees, volunteers, staff members must arrive at agreement on six simple questions:
1. Why do we exist?
2. How do we behave?
3. What do we do?
4. How will we succeed?
5. What is most important, right now?
6. Who must do what?
If people can rally around the answers to these questions rather than jargon and meaningless mumbo jumbo on a t-shirt or coffee cup an organization (business, non-profit, church) has a much higher chance of acheiving organizational health. What do you think? Have you used mission statements in your work and have they acheived your goals? How do others feel about the mission statement if it was produced before they joined your staff or church?
Are you a part of an organization that had a mission statement "handed down" to you? Do people refer to it in their daily work?
*The company is Dunder Mifflin, Inc. the fictional paper company that is featured on the sitcom The Office.