Many organizations attempt too much with their mission statement. They try to incorporate everything they can because they believe that if people reading the mission don’t walk away understanding what they are about, then they may have missed their opportunity. As a poet, I have learned that saying too much often makes people miss the point more than if you leave room for follow-on and imagination. In this above the fold world, we live in, keeping mission statements short is crucial.
If you grab people with the mission statement, they will go on to read the organizational value statements, the vision, the key strategies that tell them what the organization stands for today, and what it intends to be in the future, and how it plans to get there.
The politics of inclusion can be the most daunting force in brevity and conciseness. Don’t let the wordsmiths get wordy. Give them the values to write, not the mission statement. Let the poets write the mission statements, which should not mean, but be*.
*A nod to Archibald MacLeish and the last line of Ars Poetica.
More on mission statements here.