Saturday, July 31, 2010

What is our mission?

Almost all schools, businesses, and organizations have mission statements.  According to Wikipedia a mission statement is "...a formal, short, written statement of the purpose of a company or organization." The purpose of a mission statement is to " the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making."  The degree to which a mission statement carries any real importance or value depends on the organization.  Some organizations align everything they do to their overarching mission.  It is the basis for decisions in all areas.  In others the mission statement hangs on the wall collecting dust but not having any real impact on the organization. 

In preparing for this post I spent some time researching mission statements of various companies and organizations.  Many of them are fairly standard.  They talk of leading the industry in service and sales.  There are however several well known companies and organizations that have more creative mission statements.  A few examples include:

  • Google whose mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
  • Nike whose mission is "To Bring Inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world." 
 and of course 
  • Disney whose mission is simply "To Make People Happy"
As you think about these companies you can see the direct connection between the decisions they have made and their mission statements.  The connection between the activities of these organizations and their mission statements is clear and strong.  

Have you ever read the mission statement of the Okoboji School District?  Do you know it by heart?  If you don't have it memorized (which I am sure is most all of you) here it is...

"We will prepare each learner with the knowledge and skills necessary for a productive life in a changing world. "

There are some key phrases in there that should guide our decisions, programming, and where we commit our resources (time, money, and energy.)
  • Prepare Each Learner - we must reach every student...this is an underlying theme of public education
  • Knowledge and Skills - it is not just about what they know, it is about what they can do with it.  Knowledge without action is useless.  We must equip our learners with both knowledge and skills.  
  • In a Changing World - as discussed last week...the world we are equiping our learners with knowledge and skills for is changing....we must change as well to ensure we can accomplish this mission. 
Mission statements are important things.  If we base our daily actions and decisions on them we can end each day knowing we have gotten one step closer to accomplishing the mission.  

One final note on mission statements...the thing that got the ball rolling on on this thought process happened earlier this week when I visited Pizza Ranch in Spencer.  Just inside the door hangs a poster I had never noticed before.  It displays the mission of the entire Pizza Ranch corporation.  Surprisingly it mentions nothing about sales, service, or even pizza.  The mission statement of Pizza Ranch Inc is "To glorify God by positively impacting the world we live in."  An interesting mission statement to say the least...

Have a great week!


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