I’ve never liked mission statements. In fact, I used to be #1 or #2 on Google for “Why I hate mission statements”, a ranking I was quite proud of. There’s something about them, a syrupy lack of substance that sits in my stomach like a half-cooked pancake.
Any doubts I had about that got dispelled about twenty years ago I was on my high horse about some issue, and a priest that I was discussing it with said something that stopped me in my tracks. He said, “Don’t tell me what you believe. Let me watch you for six months. I’ll tell you what you believe.”
That nails it pretty well. While it is crucial to have values and to live by them, it’s also important to be very careful about how you talk about them.
Steve Jobs of Apple does a very good job in communicating his company’s values. I’m not convinced Apple lives by them all that well but he does communicate them well as you can see in this video of his “Think Different” campaign (hat tip Ben Casnocha):