Give 'em One Simple Goal

Jan 9, 2013

Mission Statements Are Almost Always Meaningless
Credit Randy Glasbergen

One good thing about the passing of time is the diminishing popularity of bad corporate ideas. Near the top of this list should be company mission statements.

Whether you call it a mission statement. Philosophy. Vision. Code of conduct. Goals. Commitment. There are a lot of names for it, but it’s almost always meaningless.

A committee-written document with little relevance. It’s not that the content – the idea – embodied in most is bad. The content, itself, is almost always good.

What makes most worthless is that, first, there’s too much content. And second, nobody makes an effort to make it meaningful to employees.

My dad used to run a regional sales office and distribution center for a major farm machinery maker. On everyone’s desk in that office was the customary wooden block with the person’s name on it. But on the side that faced each person at his desk the message was the same.

The message: "I’m a salesman first."

It didn’t matter what your job was. Secretary, bookkeeper, parts department, receptionist . . . my dad put sales first, and all of those employees knew they were expected to conduct themselves as salesmen for the company.

Keep your goal simple. And be sure everybody gets it.

To reach Mr. Malmo, hear and read more of his commentaries, or to ask him your own marketing question, go to