Thursday, June 25, 2015

What makes a mission statement great?

Satya Nadella - CEO of Microsoft Photo:

This week Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, sent out a "State of the Union Microsoft" address email to his 118,000 global employees. In it, he detailed a vision for the next year, full of 'tough choices' and mobile-first, cloud-centric computing. As he has been sitting in the role for nearly 18 months now, it came as little surprise that he also announced his new mission for the company, finally updating the much maligned mission statement of his predecessor. It got us thinking in the nsquared office, what makes a good mission statement?

Let's have a quick look at the history of Microsoft's mission statement.

Under Bill Gates, the famous, metrics-focussed mission of an IT revolutionary: "A computer on every desk and in every home."

The more controversial verbosity of Steve Ballmer came next with his idea to, "create a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most."

And finally, Nadella announced he wants "to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more."

While there is similarities in all of them, you can see a particular preoccupation from each CEO and a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve, some maybe more evocative than others.

So how do other company's compare?

Google - Google's mission is to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Coca Cola - To refresh the world, to inspire moments of optimism and happiness, to create value and make a difference

Amazon - To be Earth's most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online

Virgin Atlantic - our mission statement is simple, yet the foundation of everything we do here at Virgin Atlantic Airways… to embrace the human spirit and let it fly.

nsquared - putting digital tables everywhere.

So what makes a mission statement great? A mission is basically a giant, long-term objective, a collective goal to strive for as an organisation - what makes a mission statement great is the visionary behind the idea and the people executing it every day.

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