Hello MFJ Readers. This issue explores a practical approach to
facilitating the development of mission statements for an
organization. We'd like to thank Frank
A. Prince, Involvement Systems, Inc.
for this article.
If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an
article for consideration, please email
your ideas. I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading!
A shared mission is
a powerful tool to catalyze a group.
Mission statements for organizations
have become more and more popular in the past five to ten years.
They've moved from a business fad to a sustained trend through
the 90's. They are now a standard form of management by
objective and can help executive and employees reach company
goals. At best, such statements can get people charged up about
their work. At worst, they are badly written up or poorly
communicated to others. A mission statement has commitment from
those involved in the development. Many organizations create a
mission statement for the company which is passed down through
the organization. It can be more effective to have each
division, plant, team, or work group develop their own mission
based on the company's overriding mission. They can tailor it
themselves and also take into account where the organization
believes it is going based on the organization's mission. In any
case, many facilitators are being asked to facilitate the
development of mission statements for groups. The following is a
process that can be very effective in helping to create that
Step 1: Mission statement ice
breaker -- have each individual tear a blank sheet of paper out
of a notepad (8 1/2 x 11). Have them get in pairs and have one
partner hold the sheet up while the other partner places their
palm in the center of the paper and tried to press through and
break through the paper (with a lot of difficulty and
struggling, eventually they will be able to push through and
break the paper with their hand). Next, have the other partner
hold their sheet of paper up and instead of using their palm,
have the individual use the point of their finger to push
through the paper (papers will be breaking quickly and easily on
this round). Now debrief the activity. Talk about the parallels
of creating a mission statement and focusing the organization
toward its goal.
Step 2: Have each
individual take a blank sheet of paper and write down what they
think the mission statement is for their organization. You may
provide them with some of the following guidelines.
1. The mission is the
organization's reason for being.
Step 3: Have the individuals
pair up and share their mission statement (around five minutes).
Next, while paired up and using their own mission statements,
have the two individuals create a mission statement that they
both can agree on.
2. The mission is different than goals or objectives.
3. A mission is stated as concisely and clearly as possible.
4. The mission should contain a few of the major priorities of
5. The mission statement should balance both the head and the
Step 4: Have each pair
join up with another pair so that the groups are in quads and
have this group of four share their mission statements and then
create one mission statement that all four of them can buy into
(the groups will begin to "wordsmith" and make changes
that fit with all members of the group).
Step 5: Once again, have
the groups of four pair up with another group of four and share
their mission statement. Create another mission statement that
all eight can agree upon.
Step 6: Continue this
process until you are down to two groups which combine and
create one mission statements for the entire group.
Step 7: Have the group
read the mission statement aloud in unison (a cheer and round of
applause should be in order after the reading).
Step 8: Have everyone
write down the new mission statement for the group in their day
planners, address books or something that they carry with them
wherever they go (they can even put it on a small sheet of paper
and place it in their wallets).
Companies often put their mission
or vision in a book on a shelf after they have gone through the
trouble of hammering it out. That turns the effort into a drill
rather than a tool. Just as with other plans, the mission
statement should change over time. It is not something you carve
in stone. It will evolve. The follow-up to this session is to
look for ways to communicate your mission to others inside the
organization so that they understand what you are about. Also,
future strategic decisions should be checked against the mission
to be sure they are in alignment.
Written by: Frank
A. Prince, Involvement Systems, Inc.
or refine your own life mission this week. Get help from close
friends and colleagues. I'd
love to hear what happens for you. Please email
me your comments.
Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life,
by Laurie Beth
PATH in a world in which we are daily forced to make decisions
that lead us either closer to or further from our goals, no tool
is as valuable in providing direction as a mission statement --
a brief, succinct, and focused statement of purpose that can be
used to initiate, evaluate, and refine all of life's activities.
Individuals and companies have
recently been learning what history has demonstrated all along
-- that people or groups with carefully defined missions have
always led and surpassed those who have none. Yet the process of
outlining that mission statement has been, up to now, an arduous
one that all too few have committed the time, energy, and
resources to undertake.
In The Path, Laurie Beth
Jones, author of the national bestseller Jesus CEO,
provides inspiring and practical advice to lead listeners
through every step of both defining and fulfilling a mission.
With more than ten years' experience in assisting groups and
individuals, Jones offers clear, step-by-step guidance that help
you create a mission statement in a matter of hours rather than
a month or years. Rich
with humor, exercises, and case histories, The Path is
essential listening for anyone seeking a lighter, clearer way in
What assessments do you use to support your efforts as a facilitator?
This week, we're asking you share
any assessments or
inventories you use to assess members of your groups to better
prepare them for the work you facilitate. Please include the
name of the assessment, a brief description, its benefits, its
weaknesses, situations where it is best used, and any other
general comments you feel would be relevant. Please email
them to me and I'll send the entire collection
to those who contribute.