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A take on mission, vision, value statements

November 3, 2010


Corporate mission statements have come in for a lot of ridicule recently because they represent the problem of supposedly very human communication, that’s designed by committee.

Not that I have anything against CVS/Caremark, but this is a pretty good, but typical statement of mission, vision and values.

Our Vision

We strive to improve the quality of human life.

Our Mission

Above all else … our mission is to improve the lives of those we serve
by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe,
affordable and easy to access.

Our Values

Our Customers

We are passionate and relentless in our goal to continuously innovate
and improve service to our customers … every day, every way and every

Our Colleagues

We work as a team. We are committed and act with integrity. We all
deserve respect as well as a supportive work environment that recognizes
and rewards our contributions … we accept nothing less.

Our Contributions

In the end, it’s all about results – achieving our financial goals as
well as giving back to the communities we serve. We hold each other
accountable for all aspects of our performance … without exception.

Compare this to the statement from Wieden and Kennedy at the top of the page- this was basically a drawing a 6 year old kid did in David Kennedy’s office years back that the agency appropriated.

I also found a list of values from a pretty new start-up, Asana..

“Reason, Action in the face of fear, Honesty and transparency (internally and externally), Leverage, Pragmatism, Craftsmanship, Chill-ness, Being a mensch,  Company as a collective of peers (vs. command and control hierachy), Investing in People, Perseverance, Admitting when you are wrong, Diving in and fixing problems, even if they are not yours, Intellectualism, Trust in wisdom over rules.”

It’s a little wild, chaotic and unstructured and tells you they are obviously not your typical corporation.

There are two huge trends that are shaping the way corporations need to think about how they talk about themselves and how they define what they believe in.

1. A new generation in the workforce who are looking for a different type of relationship with their employer and a different career path. Overall, they have very different expectations of what work should be from previous generations.

2. The rise in direct communication from corporations to consumers with Facebook and Twitter suggests that real people from companies are talking directly with their customers. This means the relationship is less abstract and more human.

While I am not suggesting that every Fortune 500 company adopts a Wieden or an Asana approach to their vision, mission, values statements, but they do need to take a look at them closely and make sure they obviously say something meaningful, but most importantly are compelling enough to make a connection to employees and consumers.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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