I’ve made no secret of my general dislike of mission statements. The process of putting one together can be very powerful and help clarify many things, but as pieces of communication they generally stink.
But in Geneva today, I saw one mission statement that works and avoids so many traps that most fall into. As you draw up at the building, there’s a large board with, in at least five languages (I suspect there may be another language, but it’s hidden behind a hedge), the following:
“…the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”
I think that’s fantastic.
- It’s positive. It would have been easy to talk about eradicating disease or some such.
- It’s specific. Unlike most mission statements, there is only one organisation that this could be referring to.
- It recognises the limits of acting in a complex environment.
- It’s timeless. This is one mission statement that won’t need to be rewritten in 10 or 20 years.