Vision & Mission Statements: A Complete Waste of Time

Doug Lipp - Vision & Mission Statements: A Complete Waste of Time
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Vision Statements. Mission Statements. Culture Statements. These are all a complete waste of time … for many organizations.

Why? The words in these meticulously crafted documents don’t match the words and actions of leadership.

Many have suffered through the hand-wringing, consternation, and expense that accompanies creating the “perfect” vision or mission statement. I don’t have a problem with these efforts. Yet, the sad reality I’ve observed with far too many clients over the years is this: The disconnect between the published words in these statements, and the reality on the front-lines.

Ponder the following quote from the CEO of a multinational corporation:

“Quality, integrity, and  inclusion are the core of our cultural values!”

Sounds compelling, right? Indeed, variations of these words appear in the Vision and Mission statements of companies around the world. The words of this CEO also appeared on posters throughout offices and factories,  and on T-shirts distributed to thousands of employees.

Unfortunately, the words and actions of the CEO, top leadership, and mid-level managers in their daily meetings, and on factory floors revealed a far different culture of:

  • Cutting Corners. Definitely NOT a commitment to Quality
  • Lying to Customers: Definitely NOT a commitment to Integrity
  • Favoritism: A “good ‘ol boy” system, NOT a commitment to Inclusion 

I had the joy of collaborating with Netflix Co-Founder, Marc Randolph, when emceeing a corporate conference. Just as Marc states in his best-selling book: That Will Never Work, he shared the following with me and the audience:

“Culture is a reflection of who you are and what you do … it doesn’t come from carefully worded statements. Eventually, you have to start taking small steps to put your words into practice.”

The wisest leaders follow the old adage, actions speak louder than words. Do you?