Why I Hate Mission Statements. Think Volkswagen.

 

ethics in businessI can’t begin to tell you the number of corporate lobbies I’ve visited, conference rooms I’ve sat in and company hallways I’ve walked where the company’s mission statement is on display.

The mission statement usually contains this lofty display of how integrity and ethics are central to the job at hand.

Along with the mission statement, there often is the list of 5 or 10 ways employees are to treat the customer, fellow employees and even vendors.

I’ve seen those so many times I want to vomit, because they’re meaningless!

Watching the display of corporate game playing makes me sick, because what is plastered on a wall is meaningless if the employees don’t live it.

This week’s exhibit: Volkswagen and the fact that for years they have intentionally altered emissions data results, making their cars appear to meet government standards.

Let’s cut to the chase.

Something of this magnitude and length of time does not occur merely because of one person. It occurs because too many people are willing to be complacent and go along with whatever happens.

Is this living by a standard of ethics? NO, and yet it was allowed to happen year in and year out.

A company can plaster anything they want on walls, but it comes down to the personal beliefs and actions of the employees.

At this point, we have no clue as to how and where this debacle at Volkswagen was first created and who allowed it to exist.  But the reality is that’s exactly what happened — the unethical standard was set and then supported by maybe countless people who knew exactly what was being compromised.

The integrity, values and ethics of a company are lived out by the actions of the employees, not merely displayed in a frame hanging on a conference room wall.

I would rather never see on a company’s wall a mission statement or set of values again. Instead, what I and most people want and need is company employees living by a set of ethics and standards that are above reproach.

Live and breath integrity. Don’t read it on a wall!
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Copyright 2015, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.

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1 thought on “Why I Hate Mission Statements. Think Volkswagen.”

  1. I feel your anger, but is it the fault of the tool or the tradesman? A mission statement is just a tool to help create alignment around a set of shared values. Whether or not that tool is used properly or effectively offers us no information about it’s value.

    Also, Volkswagen stock is down 30%. Grab it while it’s on sale!

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