We Have A Mission Statement, Credo and Mantra!

sales business cartoon
I worked at a company for a while whose mission statement was apparently “We strive to find a decent mission statement.”

It was decided that we needed one for our upcoming QS-9000 audit thingy, and for a good 3 months we received a new mission almost weekly. All of the other paperwork and documentation went fairly smoothly, but this little detail really had them stymied.

If we’d been honest it would’ve read “Our mission is to get upper management that jet they’ve been wanting for a while now. And some new carpeting would be nice.” But instead we got a parade of seemingly impressive but empty statements that became a running joke with the employees.

When you think about it, why you do what you do is a serious and thought-provoking question. But if it turns out to be a real stumper, maybe you’ve got other questions to be asking.


Mark Anderson Mark Anderson's cartoons appear in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. His business cartoons are available for licensing at his website, Andertoons.com.

5 Reactions
  1. A simple idea, and a passion FOR that idea, are almost pre-requisites for any start-up. It is perfectly fine to want the company jet but in return for providing the service or product that you are passionate about!

    We at Veritas Language Solutions are all passionate about quality translations because we were founded by, and are staffed by translators and linguists! Compare this mantra to some of our competitors who engage in a ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of prices, and thus also in quality. Good translations cost money and if you use a machine or a poor quality interpreter or translator you get a substandard product. The detrimental effect of that product can have on the client in terms of sales and prestige are, sadly, often overlooked by companies.

  2. A mission statement does take a lot of time and thought to properly convey a message you are trying to establish. You are correct it should not be a stumper, but should take more time establishing how you are going to say something than what you are going to say.

  3. Before you start writing your mission statement, credo, mantra, ask yourself the question: Why are you in business? Personally, I am a trader in matter and spirit, and I want to spread better ideas on business philosophy and new media. I am striving for the pursuit of my happiness and a second renaissance.

  4. I have absolutely worked with a company just like this. The mission really should have read, “Line the owners’ pockets with cash.” And you know what? I think the employees would have gotten behind that mission far more than the ridiculous, high-minded, buzzword-filled statement that ultimately came out. I had to fire them as a client because they just couldn’t be honest.

    Also, kudos to Martin in his reply above for bringing up the idea of the why. “What is your why?” is the place to start.

  5. Andy: Thanks for the kudos!

    From your web site:

    “What is our why?
    Business partners Jan Haugo and Andy Gutierrez are passionate about helping businesses succeed. They understand the important role small business play in our communities, and are committed to helping organizations become financially and operationally sustainable.”