Monday, February 21, 2011

Mission Statements as a Strategy Alignment Tool

One of the ways to align FM strategy with enterprise strategy is by making sure your FM Mission Statement is aligned with the organization’s mission statement and strategies.  As I look at mission statements from various FM groups I often see them focus more on FM operations than they do on the mission and strategies of the entities they serve.  When this is the case FM can become isolated and be perceived as not relevant to the core goals of the enterprise.

The process used to develop mission statements can support or hinder the quality of the end result.  There is no one right answer as each mission statement must be culturally aligned as well as strategically aligned.   Some may choose to develop a mission statement through consensus while others will choose to be more top down.

I recall one instance when an entire department was engaged in developing its mission statement.  Predictably, a lot of time was spent negotiating specific elements and the language of the statement.  Also predictably, we ended up with a statement that embodied a series of compromises needed to reach consensus.  After all the effort the new mission statement was quickly forgotten and became irrelevant.  It had all the right buzz words and met everyone’s needs, but it didn’t do what it was supposed to do – establish our core purpose in concise language and inspire us to that end.

A better model, I believe, is the top down approach.  Defining the organization’s purpose and core values is one of the central roles of leadership.  Leaders are accountable for the outcomes and have a closer perspective of corporate strategy, putting them in position to set the performance agenda.  I have been part of many mission statement development initiatives.  The very best ones I have seen are those which are articulated by strong leaders who have thought strategically about the organization and where it needs to go, and who use the mission statement to define its “True North.”

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