Don’t Suck!

Got a mission statement?

You know, a written-down-in-black-and-white declaration of what your business — or even your life — is all about?

I’ve spent this past weekend studying a few mission statements. It’s been revealing.

Here’s the mission statement of Aflac, the insurance guys…

“To combine aggressive strategic marketing with quality products and services at competitive prices to provide the best insurance value for consumers.”

Basic but kinda punchy. And at least you know what the hell they’re talking about.

The same can’t be said for this mission statement from another insurance firm, Gurdian Life Insurance Company…

“Our purpose is to enrich the lives of people we touch. By providing highest performing financial products and services that reduce risk and increase assets, we help individuals and employers fulfill their responsibilities and build better tomorrows. Our culture is based on an unwavering belief in integrity and fair dealings, treating our clients and each other with dignity and respect… We meet the needs of the markets we serve… We strive for excellence… We take prudent risks and work together to assure our success and profitability in the future… We work hard to enhance continuously our reputation for accessibility, professionalism, performance, and the depth and quality of our long-term consultative relationships with clients… We endeavor to be valued as an industry leader in client satisfaction, sales growth, product performance, financial strength and profitability.”

Yada, yada, yada. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

Here’s the mission statement of McGraw-Hill Companies, the book publishing folks…

“We are dedicated to creating a workplace that respects and values people from diverse backgrounds and enables all employees to do their best work. It is an inclusive environment where the unique combination of talents, experiences, and perspectives of each employee makes our business success possible. Respecting the individual means ensuring that the workplace is free of discrimination and harassment. Our commitment to equal employment and diversity is a global one as we serve customers and employ people around the world. We see it as a business imperative that is essential to thriving in a competitive global marketplace.”

Yuck. That kind of politically correct, “hey, look at us, we’re so damn socially responsible” crap just makes me wanna run into the hills with a rifle and a box of ammo.

But lemme close with my favorite mission statement of the moment. It comes from my friend Brad, owner of Stacked Sandwiches, a teeny-tiny but very busy local purveyor of tasty lunch items. (You can find me at Stacked Sandwiches at least twice a week.)

Here’s Brad’s mission statement (printed proudly on his business card)…

“Don’t suck!”

Yeah, baby!

Not only do those two words express Brad’s commitment to quality and service, they show off his personality, too!

A concise, no-BS mission statement will always trump a wishy-washy one. It’ll focus your business for success.

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