An organization’s mission statement should be a statement of its reasons for existence and its most general aspirations. It should (a) identify the ways by which the organization will seek to be effective and unique, (b) unify all its stakeholders in the pursuit of one or more common purposes and (c) once formulated, make a significant difference in what the organization does. If it doesn’t , it should be discarded.
- A mission statement should formulate an organization’s ultimate objectives and do so in a way that makes progress towards them measurable.
If a mission statement cannot be used in evaluating an organization’s performance, it is hollow, at best a piece of propaganda. It should not state what the organization must do to survive; it should state what it chooses to do to thrive.
• An organization’s mission statement should not be suitable for any other organization.
It should establish the uniqueness of the organization. If an organization wants nothing that others do not want, then there is no reason for its existence. Moreover, such an organization’s stakeholders cannot identify strongly with it.
• A mission statement should define the business that the organization wants to be in,
not necessarily is in.
However diverse its activities, in its mission statement an organization should try to formulate a unifying concept, one that covers all it wants to do, enlarges its perspective, and makes it aware of as-yet-unexploited opportunities.
• A mission statement should be relevant to all of the organization’s stakeholders.
It should state how the organization intends to serve each class of stakeholders. Most mission statements address the interests of only the organization’s managers and stockholders. A very serious deficiency from which a mission statement can suffer is failure to appeal to the organization’s non-managerial employees. If these employees do not make a commitment to the mission, it has no chance of being achieved.
- A mission statement should be exciting, challenging, and inspiring.
A vision statement is a description of a desired state. It may or may not refer to the means by which this future state is created.
- An organization’s strategy consists of those decisions that are made by its highest level of management and that affect the organization as a whole.
- Strategic decisions set objectives for the organization as a whole, relatively long-range objectives, and formulate policies and principles intended to govern selection of means by which the objectives specified are to be pursued.
Policies and Principles
Policies are rules that govern the selection of means and instruments.
Principles are formulations of values to be preserved in such selections.
1 Source: Creating the Corporate Future , and other publications by R.L. Ackoff
An Examination of the Mission Statement of Two Competitors
A mission statement is a written statement that defines the organization’s purpose, business, and products. A well-written mission statement answers the following questions:
- What is our purpose?
- What is our business?
- Who are our customers?
- What are our products?
A clear mission statement provides organizational members with unanimity of purpose and a sense of shared values. It should clarify the organizational climate and assist managers in making decisions regarding organizational objectives, organizational structure, resource allocation and product development. Each business units’ mission and objective should be aligned with the corporate mission statement.
The purpose of this exercise is to examine the mission statements of two competitors – The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo Inc. To find Coca-Cola missions statement you need to click on “About the Company” located on the corporate home page. You then need to click on “Mission Statement”. PepsiCo Inc.’s mission statement can be found on the corporate home page under “Corporate Information”.
Base all of your answers to the questions on the mission statement only. Do not use your general knowledge of the organization.
- What is the purpose of the each corporation?
- How will the organization create value for their shareholders?
- What is the business of each corporation?
- Who are the customers of each corporation?
- What are the products of each corporation?
- What are the express values of each organization?
- In June 1999, 100 children were hospitalized after consuming Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola Co. was slow to address the issue and insisted that there was no real problem. Finally, they offered a belated apology to consumers. In response to criticism regarding their response, Coca-Cola stated that they had to thoroughly assess the situation before they were able to take action. Review Coca-Cola’s mission statement. What phases (or lack of phases) in this statement influenced management’s decisions regarding the contamination scare?
- Frito Lay’s, a division a PepsiCo, mission statement is “to be the world’s favorite snack and always within arm’s reach.” Compare Frito’s Lay mission statement with PepsiCo mission statement. Are these mission statements in alignment? Why or Why not?
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