Recently, I ran into the mission statement below. Do you have any idea what firm might have formulated this ambitious vision? Which company would write (or as will become clear in the next paragraph, rather wrote) such big words?
It may come to you as a complete surprise, but – ironically enough – the mission statement above was owned by… Lehman Brothers. The financial services firm that collapsed in September 2008 and triggered a superior, unprecedented, global financial crisis. Their bold mission statement remains, the rest is history…
Actually, you may try any mission statement generator on the web (such as the one here) and I can assure you that its output may be as good as the text created by Lehman’s communication agency – for which they probably paid thousands of dollars.
Here’s a simple lesson. Stay away from buzz words, hollow phrases and meaningless statements. Tell the people what you really stand for. What you do. The value you deliver. Let your customers speak for you. Talk your walk. Walk your talk. And walk your walk.
- Lehman Brothers: the company as it saw itself (by Rob O’Neill)
- The big problem with big words (by Derek Halpern)
- How to write a mission statement that isn’t dumb (by Nancy Lublin)
- Your mission: Make sure it’s about them … not you (by John Doyle)
- Mantras versus Missions (by Guy Kawasaki)
- 5 Questions to Test Vision Statement Impact (by Mike Brown)
- About, storytellers, storydoers and storymakers (by me)