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May 3, 2009

The sense of purpose

I am not sure if you would have seen these, but have a read through them and see if they are familiar to you at all.
"We have committed to synergistically fashion high-quality products so that we may collaboratively provide access to inexpensive leadership skills in order to solve business problems"

"It is our job to continually foster world-class infrastructures as well as to quickly create principle-centered sources to meet our customer's needs"

"Our challenge is to assertively network economically sound methods of empowerment so that we may continually negotiate performance based infrastructures"
Sound familiar? Sound like what you're doing? Want to know where they come from? 
The now not-available Dilbert Mission Statement Generator. Fantastic tool to show up the foolishness of the modern mission statement. Guys (and Gals) I have to admit that our profession is partly responsible for this malaise sadly.
We have bowed to corporate desires, hooked onto what was a passing fad, and helped many companies to produce mindless and inane garbage like this...

Shame on us...

And the real shame is that they just don't work. Nobody reads them, nobody uses them, and nobody even thinks about hem once they have sat through the mind numbingly boring workshops to produce them.

So what works? here's a few clues...

- To put a computer on every desk (Microsoft)
- To be the low cost airline (Southwest airlines)
- To organize the worlds information (Google)
- To be # 1 or # 2 in every market where we compete. (GE circa Jack Welsh)

Not coincidentally a short list of some of the most successful corporations that humanity has ever evolved. 

Not quite in that league, but equally inspiring is the slogan - "No Software!" (No mission statement anywhere for them, this will suffice as a surrogate) Or Jeff Bezo's often quoted mantra for the dot com boom. "Get Big Quick".

Fantastic stuff. Statements that people run to.Dilbert (Bless him) produces statements that people want to run away from. 

Want to build a mission statement for your company? Or maybe for your clients companies? Then make sure it embodies the one overriding mission that they exist to accomplish. The one thing that defines all others.

Something, hopefully, beyond "Get Rich Quick".

"Will this make us #1 or # 2 in this market space?" (GE)

"Is this going to reduce the dependence on Software?" (

"Will this help to organize the worlds information?" (Google, who else?)

It becomes a clarifying reason for being and helps to focus all of the organizations thoughts, activities and plans. Far better than the cacophony of buzzwords to often offered up by executives and people who have no real understanding of their companies mission, just a way to appease as many people as possible.

The mission for this blog, and my writing career, used to be very Dilbert-esque. Something about consulting and marketing, realizing potential and good will to all men as I recall.... today it is pretty simple. "To enable success in others".

And it defines my writing, my day job, my attitude to work and my engagement model with my clients. It may or may not stay that way, many others seem to be doing similar, but this is where I am now.

Where are you?