Monday, November 20, 2006

Guy Kawasaki - Mission vs. Mantra

Keynote speaker at the web publishing conference last week was ex-Apple guy, VC, tech and motivational guru Guy Kawasaki. Living up to the hype, he delivered an interesting, lively, thought provoking and somewhat self-depracating address that was fun to listen to. I'm sure it's a speech he's delivered a hundred - or more - times before.

One of Kawasaki's key points of 10 things successful organizations must do is develop a 'mantra'. By mantra, Kawasaki actually means mission and his real point was to take a whack at all the really crappy mission statments that are out there.

Like Kawasaki, poor mission statements have always worried me. They're a waste of time to develop, stick up in the lobby and print onto business cards.

Crappy missions are lousy because they don't mean anything. Kawasaki pointed out how easy it is to get a crappy mission - just go to the Dilbert Mission Generator - here.

Here's a beaut that I just picked up: The customer can count on us to synergistically leverage other's performance based opportunities such that we may continue to assertively administrate market-driven information

Good missions actually have meaning, and if you ask the delivery guy or the receptionist there's at least a 50/50 chance they get it. From Kawasaki's blog, here are some missions with meaning:

Federal Express: “Peace of mind”
Nike: “Authentic athletic performance”
Target: “Democratize design”
Mary Kay “Enriching women’s lives”


Armed with a good mission, I'm a strong believer that organization's are in good shape to keep on the right track. As the post above shows, I believe that fundamental evaluation of corporate performance begins with questioning: "how well are we doing what we say we do?". When the answer is 'we're not actually clear what it is we do' - then improving performance is a snap!

No comments: