Mission and Vision Statements are Dead
Dear Mission and Vision Statements,
You have had a fantastic run. But it is time to retire. Like business suits, you are polished and perhaps expensive, but nobody wants to wear you anymore. Maybe you don’t believe me, so let’s ask our LinkedIn friends. I could be wrong.
LinkedIn friends, without doing any searches, based on memory alone, please write your definition for each statement. Further, note your company’s mission and vision statements — no cheating. If you nailed the definition and your company’s language, great; hit the insightful button below. If not, then please hit the like button.
I have a confession. I’ve spent most of my career developing mission and vision statements, holding workshops, printing cards so my team will remember, and asking clients and colleagues if they can recite these strategic lines. And after 20+ years, I still google these statements’ definitions and examples. It is like I have a memory block regarding vision and mission statements. And I’m not talking all corporate language.
I believe marketing/brand taglines (Just Do It) and company values are still in play and essential but out of scope for this thread. Purpose and true north statements, I’m on the fence. But for this discussion, we will keep the scope to the OGs of high-level strategy statements — vision and mission.
So what is an alternative? The first alternative is to let your brand and product do the talking and not stress about forced statements. But if you must create something to describe your company, keep it simple and real.
Use simple language like you were telling a friend over a coffee. Don’t fret whether the language is goal, vision, mission, culture, or customer-oriented. Speak your story succinctly.
For example, if you are a scrappy startup that builds games that you like to play and hope the effort pays the bills. Maybe you describe your company as ‘badass developers building games we love while trying to make some money.’ I know everything I need to know about the company. Additionally, I didn’t stress over if I had all the right components in the correct order following one of many fill-in-the-blank templates. But I digress.
The point here is our work culture is changing. Suits are out, casual is in. 9 to 5 office work is out, and hybrid work is in. Highly edited blog posts are out, and nonsense like this is in.
And I believe the companies that express themselves with imperfect but authentic language will win over those that push perfect and contrived. But, hey, you do you.
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