Saturday, December 02, 2006

What will succeed mission statements?

Yesterday my daughter, Hannah Hackworth, called to say that she has been urging her workplace, Urban Jacksonville, to develop a mission statement. Urban Jax is an organization that provides a variety of services for seniors in Jacksonville, FL.

In mid-December thay have a staff meeting that will focus on developing their organizations mission statement. Hannah asked if I have materials on developing mission statements. I do. I've taught individuals and organizations how to develop their mission statements. I particularly like Laurie Beth Jones' approach to developing mission statements.

But I'm losing my enthusiasm for mission statements.

Recently I read a story where a consultant meeting with a group of 20 or so business CEOs asked them to write out their corporate mission statements. Then he had them place them on a table, mixed them up, and challenged the CEOs to find their mission statements. The mission statements were so much alike that the CEOs had a hard time picking out theirs.

Lately I've begun to consider treasure statements as an alternative to mission statements.

When a client knocks on the door of a nonprofit he does so with a mixture of desperation and hope. The knock on the door is the beginning of a journey with staff and client together searching for a treasure.

Whats that treasure? A transformation in the life of the client.

Over the next couple of weeks I'll do an occassional post as I ponder how to create a simple process that an organization like Urban Jacksonville can use to describe the treasure they have to offer to folks who knock on their door.