What’s one example of a common company mission that you think is overrated, and why? What should replace it?
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1. Statements That Mention Being the ‘Best’
The missions that correspond to being the “best” are generic and overrated. Being the best there is at what you do is the pinnacle of success. If you get there, what’s next? Businesses don’t grow when they pursue excellence. They grow by making mistakes, learning from experiences and doing better next time. So, seeking continuous improvement can be a good replacement.
2. Missions That Aren’t Measurable
Generally speaking, any mission statement that isn’t measurable can cause problems for your business. If you can’t track your progress, your statement is nothing more than words on paper (or a screen). People are more willing to get behind mission statements that focus on tangible long-term goals or aspirations.
3. Statements That Could Apply to Any Company
Many mission statements contain generic terms that could apply to almost anyone. A common example is “We provide the highest quality service,” which is an admirable goal but doesn’t really tell you anything about what they stand for or how they deliver it. Terms such as “integrity,” “excellence” and “industry leaders” are similar. It’s better to pinpoint something more specific that you deliver.
4. Phrases About Pursuing Excellence
“We pursue excellence” is generic and overrated — not to mention, the definition of achieving excellence may vary from one person to another. What will be the metric for achieving excellence? No one knows, as not everyone in your company is on the same page. So, replacing this mission with measurable indicators like sign-ups, conversions and other growth metrics would be a good idea.
5. Missions That Mention ‘Social Impact’
Many companies use the phrase “social impact” in their mission statement, but the impact is rarely evident. For example, a clothing store may mention that it is committed to helping women in poverty, but it will still charge the same amount for its T-shirts. Instead of writing a mission statement, a company should inform customers about how they are helping the world.
6. Missions That Call for Perfection
Nothing is perfect! I’d rather see a mission that pushes others to embrace imperfection and to strive harder to be better every day, knowing that there is such a thing as a bad day. The best thing we can do is to stop aiming for perfection and just be better than yesterday.
7. Statements That Don’t Mention Your Industry or Purpose
I think mission statements that don’t directly mention your industry or what your business does can do more harm than good. Failure to mention these details makes your message seem more like a fluff piece than an actual long-term goal for your brand. Instead, brand leaders should focus specifically on how their company will help the industry evolve.
8. Missions That Lack Connection
Companies should be able to use their mission statement to connect with their target audience. However, I have seen a lot of companies create mission statements that are too broad and generic. For example, “Helping businesses grow” is far too generic and does not connect with anyone. However, if it was “Helping small businesses grow with our marketing services,” it would connect better.