DOES ANYONE GIVE A FLIP ABOUT MISSION STATEMENTS?

Published May 10, 2013

I remember when it became popular for businesses and law firms to have a mission statement. It was the rage and it seemed crucial that if you were going to survive you had to have a mission statement. I remember being in partners meetings discussing what was going to be in our mission statement. In my opinion, we would have been better off hanging out by a pool relaxing with a cold beverage. But no, we worked on our mission statement and proudly posted it on our website. Did it make any difference in how we operated? Do you think it makes any difference to all the companies that have a mission statement? Do you think the employees of those companies stop daily and contemplate the company's mission statement? Do the employees review the mission statement and ponder how they can provide a better service or product?

Answer: Hell No!

Ok Carla you are being negative but I don't think mission statements promote loyalty or a team effort. You get a better product and service when you empower your employees. As the old saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." My answer is, "You have to lead a horse to water and the horse has to want to drink."

How do you get the horses, i.e. employees, to want to drink? They have to get something out of it, and that something is more than money. Employees are like kids and they need to know that they matter and that you care. This means making a point to complement them and to tell them how important they are to your business. Too much emphasis is placed on correcting problems rather than encouraging good behavior.

Too often I see workplaces where the hard working employees are never thanked for their dedication. Instead, the employer lets them carry the load for the employee that goofs off or that has a bad attitude. The goof off employee (Gail Goofoff) gets away with bad behavior and meanwhile drives down the motives of the hard working employees. The hard working employees are not thinking about the company's mission statement. Rather they are thinking, "Why should I work hard. My boss doesn't care that Gail Goofoff doesn't work. Why should I?" This Company's mission statement has become, "Do just as much as Gail Goofoff because no one cares."

A better idea for mission statements would be to have them for the employees, not the outside world. Mission statements would read like this:

We are committed to a team effort where all employees work together to help each other achieve the best they can be while providing a quality product or service.

Or better yet, ditch the mission statement. Instead practice encouraging your employers. Compliment them and let them know that they are an important member of your team.

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