Day 1: Teambuilding. First, form cross-functional teams so that engineering has to work with sales. Then tolerate a day of exercises such as, Each of you will come up to the front of the group, turn your back to the group, close your eyes, and fall backwards into the arms of your colleagues. This will teach you to communicate with and trust your fellow employees.
Day 2: Crafting the mission statement. In a hot, crowded room with a pad of white paper and a facilitator who knows nothing about your business, you are going to collectively craft a mission statement. Everyone who is director level and above in the company is there, that's sixty people. You each figure you get one word, so at the end of the day you have a sixty-word mission statement that is good for the customers, shareholders, employees, whales, and dolphins:
The mission of Wendy's is to deliver superior quality products and services for our customers and communities through leadership, innovation, and partnerships.
Don't get me wrong. I love Wendy's, but I've never thought I was participating in leadership, innovation, and partnerships when I ordered a hamburger there. I have given up on trying to get companies to create short, different, and meaningful mission statements, so go ahead and spend the $25,000 for the offsite, facilitator, and consultants to create one.
However, you should also create a mantra for your organization. A mantra is three or four words long, tops. Its purpose is to help employees truly understand why the organization exists. If I were the CEO of Wendy's, I would establish a corporate mantra of "healthy fast food." End of story. Here are more examples of corporate mantras to inspire you:
- Federal Express: "Peace of mind"
- Nike: "Authentic athletic performance"
- Target: "Democratize design"
- Mary Kay: "Enriching women's lives"
- eBay: "Democratize ecommerce"
The ultimate test for a mantra (or mission statement) is if your telephone operators can tell you what it is. If they can, then you're onto something meaningful and memorable. If they can't, then, well, it sucks.
If you still insist on doing a mission statement, then at least let me help you save a lot of time and money. Just go to the Dilbert Mission Statement Generator. There, without a consultant, facilitator, and offsite, you can get the mission statement of your dreams. Meanwhile, you still need a mantra, so get working.
Excerpted from my next book: Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition. For more information about leadership, go here.