Most of us have seen either clever or practical methods of keeping the mission of an organization in the forefront of our thinking. I often see colleges and schools place their mission on a plaque in main offices, classrooms, or on the reverse side of a business card. However, I saw a really interesting and simple idea today that was very effective as I facilitated a meeting of an executive team and board of trustees task force.
Located in the middle of the rectangular conference room table in the boardroom sat a framed image of the mission statement of the organization. It was placed strategically in front of participants as if to invite them to pick it up and pass it along to others in the discussion. As we moved into important, mission-specific conversations, many would pick up the mission statement frame, point to a specific element of statement, and then pass it along to others. Throughout the session, the framed document moved from person to person and silently yet symbolically informed both the conversation and the outcome.
There is nothing like a visible reminder of the mission statement as a active, guiding principle that should inform all strategic decisions. The image of the mission statement in today's conversation was one of a durable, active, guiding force in the future of the organization. Try it on for size. Frame up your mission statement and leave in laying at the center of your critical discussion table. I suspect it will shape the outcome of the discussion, assuming you buy into the statement.