101 Mission Statements from Top Companies by Jeffrey Abrahams

Published by: Ten Speed Press, 2007
Pages: 147+v pp
Price: $14.95

This succinct book tackles a big subject and amply demonstrates why it is so difficult to get mission statements right. In a brief opening section, Abrahams explains the purpose and intent of mission statements, as well as his recommended process for creating one. The heart of the book are 101 corporate mission statements of every conceivable type, from pseudo-historical epics (Ingersoll-Rand stressing the courage of its founders in leaving the buggy-whip industry) to pithy statements of governing values

Nonprofit organizations will quickly see how difficult it is to capture succinctly and compellingly their essential purpose and values in a simple statement.

(Amgen summing up its mission as “to serve patients”) to the highly aspirational (Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings seeks “to become the pre-eminent ice cream company in the United States”).

Abraham’s examples demonstrate how difficult the corporate sector finds it to craft clear, well-phrased and relevant mission statements. Most of Abraham’s examples are light on content but high on hopes, or as he puts it elsewhere in his volume, “writing can be hard work.” Nonprofit organizations, which by definition are mission-driven, will quickly see from his book how difficult, but vital, it is to capture succinctly and compellingly their essential purpose and values in a simple statement. Abraham’s book is thus a guide for nonprofits on how not to do it. Someone should edit a companion volume of illustrative mission statements for the nonprofit sector.

STRATEGY MATTERS © No 3
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