What you need to know about mission statements

Cartoon truth!

How important is your mission statement?

It’s not.

There, shortest blog ever!

In most of my meetings with clients looking to do a website, inevitably, their mission statement comes up. They’ll say “We definitely want our Mission Statement on our homepage.”‘ Are you kidding me? Who invented this stupid waste of time?

Vincent Flanders- Web Pages That SuckA mission statement is nothing more than a declaration of the obvious. “Blah”, “Blah”, “Blah” that nobody cares about. My co-author of Web Pages That Suck, Vincent Flanders, summed it up nicely; “All babies must eat.”

That’s it in a nutshell.

But all over the country there are groups of marketing people and their CEOs, hunched around conference tables carefully choosing how to say “We have great products, reasonable prices, excellent service and want you to be a satisfied customer.”

Consider Aflac’s mission statement; “To combine aggressive strategic marketing with quality products and services at competitive prices to provide the best insurance value for consumers.” in other words; “We have great products, reasonable prices, excellent service and want you to be a satisfied customer.”

Maybe I could have written their mission statement.
Look at Bristol Myers, talk about stating the obvious: “To discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.”

Duh!

Some companies didn’t try as hard, for instance, Hershey’s three word mission statement; “Undisputed Marketplace Leadership.” I think Charlie Sheen’s said it better with his own personal mission statement “Duh, Winning.”

Duh- Winning!

I realize that big companies need to define their mission, if not for anything more than to put in an employee handbook. The lowly cog in the machine may not realize there is a reason for him not to fall asleep at his laser-cutting machine.

So as a service to my dear readers, here’s an easy way to generate your own Mission Statement!
But for goodness sake’s, don’t put it on your homepage!

 

Teresa - June 21, 2011 - 3:16 pm

Looks like you’re on a “mission” to blog some funny stuff!

mari gonzo garcia - June 21, 2011 - 3:35 pm

I like mission statements. When my college wants a justification for something they deem totally random, I just link it to our mission statement with an attachment that says something like: suck it!

Ryan Nuu - June 21, 2011 - 4:04 pm

Just generated my mission statement: We sincerely believe in generating mediocre investor return from support through functionality from the top down…It’s perfect! Haha great piece!

willisdesign - June 21, 2011 - 4:25 pm

Hey Ryan, maybe the generator will come in handy for one of your business classes!

Rocio Garcia - June 21, 2011 - 4:25 pm

Ah, great post. Definitely entertaining.

willisdesign - June 21, 2011 - 4:26 pm

Gonzo- like this?
Hartnell College provides the leadership and resources to ensure that all students shall have equal access to a quality education and the opportunity to pursue and achieve their goals. We are responsive to the learning needs of our community and dedicated to a diverse educational and cultural campus environment that prepares our students for productive participation in a changing world. So suck it!

willisdesign - June 21, 2011 - 4:26 pm

Such a punster Teresa.

chingpea - June 21, 2011 - 5:10 pm

So true… so entertaining! It’s like the overblown Jerry McGuire thing. Who gives a $#@* about a mission statement? Charlie Sheen does sum it up nicely even tho he has a lot of haters. He tells it like it is. We all want to WIN!

Ryan - June 21, 2011 - 5:42 pm

It’s not often i design a website that includes one of these, but when it happens i have Doc and the Delorean parked out front. Preset to 1996.

Duh, Deloreaning!

willisdesign - June 23, 2011 - 4:46 pm

My co-author Vincent Flanders has a rebuttal. Well- more of a conditional rebuttal:

BTW – The one group of people who MUST use a Mission Statement are non-profits. Here’s something I wrote a while back:

Vincent Flanders’ comments: Jakob Nielsen’s “Donation Usability: Increasing Online Giving to Non-Profits and Charities” is required reading for any non-profit organization. His two big points (Mission Statements and accountability) ring true. As I’ve said a hundred times, no web site should have a mission statement – unless you’re a non-profit and then you need to
have the best mission statement possible. As I said in “Biggest Mistakes in Web Design 1995-2015″ organization names, mission statements, and tag lines shouldn’t say:
Big Hands of Hope – It’s all about compassion
It should say something like
Save the African Children – We keep them from dying a horrible death

Your mission statement, tagline, and organization name should tell me what you’re going to do.

Don Mason - June 23, 2011 - 7:15 pm

“Save the African Children – We keep them from dying a horrible death”

Your mission statement, tagline, and organization name should tell me what you’re going to do.

OK, how about this for the gift that keeps on giving,

Save the African Children – We keep them from dying a horrible death.

Save the African Teenagers – We keep them from dying a horrible death.

Headstones for Young Adult Africans – Hey, we tried our best.

Don Ambriz - July 1, 2011 - 8:19 pm

Mike – Informative Post, I will heed your advice.

Larry Boyer - September 22, 2013 - 2:33 pm

Most people and companies don’t know how to right a mission statement, let alone follow it. That’s really what you’re talking about. If you don’t understand what a mission statement is, then you’re right is it blah, blah, blah babies must eat. However a well written mission statement is not that at all.

In fact many companies don’t even get right the distinction between a mission statement, vision statement, purpose statement and values statement. Some will pick an chose and others will blend them all together.

Those companies that get the distinction are the ones on an easier path to success.

Once that clarity is achieved then there is the question of genuinely executing on them and staying disciplined.

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