What Facebook can teach about your mission statement
There’s an article describing Facebook’s mission statement evolution.
First, it was ‘Making the world more open and connected.” Yet, with friends locking onto and lavishing attention upon the digital acquaintances on their screen at the expense of the flesh-and-blood ones sitting right next to them—or worse, ignoring their own family gathered around the dinner table—the ‘more connected’ ideal ultimately proved to be folly.
Now, the social media giant is in the midst of talking to themselves again, declaring their new mission is, “To give people the power to build community and bring the world together.”
Seems Zuckerberg optimistically assumes the great majority of people in the world will seize his creation to build (healthy, constructive, nourishing) communities, believing—essentially—they all want the same things he wants and will use Facebook to fulfill his mission.
This can serve as a reminder to us all.
Facebook has the means of capturing every shred of information about their users, yielding thousands of data points—yet how well do they really know their users?
The most potent and productive mission statement is one which contains not only your innermost hopes, dreams and desires, but reflects an element of truth about how you are meeting those of your customer.
Do those hopes, dreams, and desires align? Are they realistic? Do they matter?
Or is your mission statement simply a pleasant sounding collection of words posted in the break room?
Assuming for a moment that you don’t have the domination and world presence of a Facebook, allowing you to reap millions before a misguided mission statement catches up with you, you may want to take a gut check.
Start with your own gut and those of your employees. Read your mission statement aloud.
Does it pass the smell test? Does everybody believe in it? Do you honestly practice what you preach?
Now, move on to your customers.
Your goal is to know that your mission statement is based on a truth, a real truth that intimately involves your customers’ wants and wishes. So just ask them: “You know us. Here is our Mission Statement. Does it ring true? And, does it matter to you? Why?”
Try it. There’s only one thing better than having your customer confirm and validate your mission statement. And that would be having your customer question your mission statement by raising a valid point— because then you know where to focus your attention: on improving your brand’s image by strengthening your mission statement.
But, this time, be sure to involve your customer in that process. Because, even as Facebook would have to admit, nobody knows them better.