“Our mission is to deliver superior quality products and services for our customers and communities through leadership, innovation, and partnerships.” Wendy’s International’s mission statement.
Don’t get me wrong: I like Wendy’s. When Dad is responsible for lunch or dinner, a quick run to Wendy’s is often on the agenda. However, in all the times that I’ve driven thru (or stood at a counter at) Wendy’s, it has never occurred to me that I’m participating in “leadership, innovation, and partnerships.”
I have a fundamental problem with mission statements: because the people who craft them think they should represent the needs of customers, employees, shareholders, whales, and dolphins, they become too long, too mundane, and too complex. They are often twenty words or longer, so no employees can remember them.
Thus, in my book (no pun intended), my recommendation is that you create a mantra that explains what kind of meaning you make—your reason for existence! A mantra is one, two, three, or four words long at most. Here are some examples that I made up:
Wendy’s: “Healthy fast food.”
Target: “Democratize design.”
eBay: “Democratize commerce.”
Nike: “Authentic athletic performance.”
Guy Kawasaki: “Empower entrepreneurs.”
Here’s a good test for you: Ask your receptionist what your mission statement is? If he or she cannot repeat it verbatim, you’re in trouble. Trust me when I tell you: When it comes to explaining why your company exists, less is more.
If I haven’t dissuaded you from creating a mission statement, then at least let me provide you with a way to make this an easy process: Try this mission statement generator. Knock yourself out.