Monday, June 9, 2003

Preparing to write the mission statement

Monday, June 9, 2003
Business Times p.B5

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Preparing to write the mission statement

“Leadership is going where no one else has gone,” said Bob Galvin, former chairman of Motorola.

In the book, Mission Possible, Ken Blanchard and Terry Wag­horn posed this question: “Which approach is better–improving what is, or creating what isn’t.” Their own answer is an em­phatic “yes” that is, to manage the present effectively while at the same time creating the future.

As an entrepreneur and boss, as you start your business or, if you are already established but are now encountering turbulent times, you need to gather all the human energies in your or­ganization and focus them toward a single, burning purpose. All hands on deck, brain power engaged and heart beating as one.

So you have co-created an inspiring vision for your company or what your organization hopes to be. Good start. But don’t stop there. In the command “ready, aim, fire!” ready is just one of the part. Ready, is strategic thinking. Aim, is strategic and business planning. Fire, is implementing.

Getting ready is creating a vision, defining the mission and identifying the core values of your organization. TAG Heuer’s creative concept aptly puts it: “Success. It’s a mind game.” Today you will define your purpose, your business concept and answer TAG Heuer question: “What are you made of?”

Authors Blanchard and Waghorn defines mission as: “Your business should be defined, not in terms of the product or service you offer, but in terms of what customer need your products or service fulfills. While products come and go, basic needs and customer groups stay around, i.e., the need for communication, the need for transportation, etc. To allow for the constantly shifting nature of markets, your description of the market need you fulfill should be broad, rather than narrow.

“To use a classic example, suppose that around the time that automobile was coming into use you’d asked a manufacturer of horse carriages, ‘What market need do you supply?’ If the answer was, ‘The need for good horse carriages,’ it’s likely that that manufacturer would soon have been out of business. Had the same leader answered, ‘We provide trans­portation for people,’ his or her company might have evolved from making horse carriages to making cars, and prospered.

“By widening the scope of your services to your customer, you’re throwing out a bigger fishnet.”

Here are examples of com­panies who made the switch.

SAS: We transport people and goods. (from: We run an airline.)

Hoover: We help create cleaner and healthier environ­ments. (from: We make vacu­ums.)

Midas: We provide complete auto servicing. (from: We make mufflers.)

Other mission statements I gathered are:

Meralco: To provide our customers the best value in energy, pro­ducts and services.

Rockwell Land: To be the leading Filipino property development company, most admired in Asia.

Rotary Soup Kitchen: We endeavor to become a self-sustaining orga­nization delivering ex­cep­tional programs and services dedicated to empo­wering people, restoring dignity and bringing hope.

PriceSmart: A strategically, volume-driven and entrepre­neurial membership merchandise and services leader delivering quality, value, and low prices to rapidly emerging consumer class in Latin America, The Caribbean and Asia.

GSIS: We are committed to provide adequate benefits and responsive services to all members and dependents, com­prehensive protection to govern­ment insurable interests and maximum contribution to nation building. We undertake all these in an environment where inspired leadership and dedicated emplo­yees promote highest quality of services to our members and clients.

IRRI: To generate and disse­minate rice-related knowledge and technology of short- and long-term environmental, social and economic benefit and to help enhance national rice research systems.

TAG Heuer: To produce models that embody prestige, deliver performance and guarantee technological inno­vation within an award-winning design aesthetic.

Your mission statement differentiates your business from another similar one by deli­neating your driving force and your uniqueness.

Michel Robert writes in his book, Strategy Pure and Simple, “each of these companies goes down a different road and seldom competes with each other even though they all make cars.

Volvo: Safe and durable cars.

Mercedes Benz: best-engineered car

BMW: the ultimate driving machine.

Volkswagen: People’s car.

General Motors: A car for each income strata”

To summarize, a mission statement describes your organization’s and that of the individuals in your organization:

• reason for existence
• nature and scope of work or responsibilities
• areas of accountabilities; and
• uniqueness.

World Peace. Mark Twain says, “always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

(Ms. Moje Ramos-Aquino is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp and helps companies develop shared vision and matched missions. She awaits your feedback at

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