Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Taste that Mission Statement!

IT HIT ME THIS MORNING -- MISSION STATEMENTS ARE LIKE good wines or craft beers; they're meant to be savored.

A lot of care goes into making truly wonderful things and that's no less true for the noble statement of purpose. Yet so many mission statements are nothing more than cookie cutter iterations that lack true craftmanship and, ultimately, true meaning. If you can't get jazzed about your organization's mission statement, who do you think will?

How can you break out of the old mold? Let the tasting and the savoring begin!

Try this and see if it helps: make some copies of your mission statement and give it to staff and to some of your board members and volunteers. Ask them to carry it around with them for a day and use it as a comparison to what's really happening at your institution.

Does the statement capture and mirror the enjoyment, the learning, the level of activity, the sense of wonder and discovery, the intensity and the humanity of what's going on? What are the adjectives or phrases that describe the reality?

Encourage folks to write all over that mission statement, or crumple it up and start afresh. Embolden your staff, your volunteers, your board members to make creative and emotional connections to your institution's core principles and values. Then widely share what you've come up with.

You've just tasted your mission. Now savor it. Where will it lead you next?

Photo: words, words, words on paper from kay ef

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