THE MISSION STATEMENT
Here is an example of a Mission statement from both Johnson and Johnson and Sara Lee.
You will see it contains the following commitments –
1. What business are we in?
2. How are we going to offer the customer exceptional value
3. What shareholder value will we offer?
4. How will we treat our employees?
5. We will operate in an ethical way have concern for the environment
To be of use a mission statement must be meaningful to all. Otherwise it becomes nothing other than a
‘wish’ statement looked on with cynicism by most.
Johnson and Johnson Mission Statement
We believe our first responsibility is to the doctors, nurses and patients and to mothers, fathers, and all
others who use our products and services (the customers). In meeting their needs, everything we do must be
of high quality. We must constantly strive to reduce our costs in order to maintain reasonable prices.
Customers' orders must be serviced promptly and accurately. Our suppliers and distributors mint have an
opportunity to make a fair profit.
We are responsible to our employees, the men and women who work with us throughout the world.
Everyone must be considered as on individual. We must respect their dignity and recognize their merit.
They must have a sense of security in their jobs. Compensation must be fair and adequate, and working
conditions clean, orderly and safe. We must be mindful of ways to help our employees fulfill their family
responsibilities Employees must feel free to make suggestions and complaint. There must be equal
opportunity for employment development and advancement for those qualified. We must provide
competent management and their actions must be just and ethical.
We are responsible to the communities in which we live and work and to the world community as well. We
must be good citizens support good works and charities and bear our fair share of taxes. We must
encourage civic improvements and better health and education. We must maintain in good order the
property we are privileged to use, protecting the environment and natural resources.
Our final responsibility is to our stockholders. Business must make a sound profit. We must experiment
with new ideas. Research must be conducted for innovative programs developed and mistakes paid for.
New equipment must be purchased, new facilities provided and new products launched. Reserves must be
created to provide for adverse times. When we operate according to these principles, the stockholders
should realize a fair return.
Sara Lee's Mission Statement
Sara Lee Corporation is a global manufacturer and marketer of high quality, brand-name products for
consumers throughout the world. With headquarters in Chicago, Sara Lee Corporation has operations in
more than 40 countries and markets branded products in more than 140 nations. The corporation employs
138,000 people worldwide.
Sara Lee Corporation's mission is to build leadership brands in consumer-packaged goods markets around
the world. Our primary purpose is to create long-term stockholder value.
Sara Lee Corporation is committed to the principle of decentralized management.
The company is organized into a large number of discrete profit centers, each led by an operating executive
with a high degree of authority and accountability for the performance of that business.
Operating executives are selected and developed based on their ability to succeed in this entrepreneurial
environment. Success at Sara Lee Corporation is measured by performance, and the company makes use of
numerous reward systems to motivate management to achieve an outstanding level of performance.
This management philosophy is a defining and enduring attribute of Sara Lee Corporation.
Lines of Business: Sara Lee Corporation is a global consumer packaged goods’ company with more than
$20 billion in annual revenues and divided into five lines of business: Sara Lee Foods, Coffee and Tea,
Household and Body Care, Foodservice, and Branded Apparel.
Progress: Sara Lee Corporation has a 20-year history of delivering record sales and profits. One reason is
that we set aggressive goals for ourselves and empower management to achieve them.
Financial Goals (These become the Corporate Objectives): We believe that the key drivers of increased
shareholder value are Sara Lee's ability to grow profits, generate high returns on capital employed in our
business and maintain a strong financial position. These value drivers - earnings growth, profitability and
financial strength - are the basis for the goals that guide our financial management.
Earnings Growth: Real growth in earnings per share of 8% to 10% per year
Profitability: Return on invested capital above 20%
Financial Strength: Cash flow to total debt greater, than 40%.
Sara Lee - good corporate citizenship; an extension of the mission statement
The quality of life in our communities directly affects the success of our business. While we cannot reshape
our society, we know we are a part of it, and we certainly have a stake in it. Therefore, we are determined
every year to dedicate some of our resources to improving community life.
We take great pride in our reputation as a leader in corporate citizenship. Through volunteerism, product
donations, cash contributions, and special initiatives, we support activities that fortify the body, strengthen
the mind, and inspire the heart.
Our policy is to give nonprofit organizations at least 2% of our U.S. pretax income annually through cash
and product donations, amounting to almost $220 million corporate-wide over the past 10 years. In response
to our growing business, we formed the Sara Lee Foundation in 1981 to oversee our philanthropic activities.
In fiscal 1998, our corporate-wide donations totaled more than $32 million, of which nearly $8 million
represented Sara Lee Foundation spending.
We focus our community concerns on five distinct areas -- read on for an explanation of each.
For Sara Lee Corporation, art is a way of life.
We believe in supporting organizations that make art meaningful and available to many people. Art is a top
priority, receiving at least 40% of the Foundation's cash grant funds. As part of its general interest in
supporting the arts, Sara Lee Corporation announced a very special gift in June 1998, called the Millennium
Gift. Sara Lee Corporation will donate more than 40 major works from its renowned art collection, which
includes French Impressionists and other popular artists of the modern era, to more than 25 museums
across the United States and around the world. We support a great range of work, from exhibitions at The
Art Institute of Chicago, to cutting-edge projects at the Guild Complex, which provides a forum for literary
Women make up more than half the world's population, and Sara Lee Corporation is the world's largest
company named after a woman. Nearly 60% of Sara Lee Corporation's employees and more than 85% of
Sara Lee Corporation's customer base are women. We therefore feel we have a special responsibility to
women, and the Foundation earmarks 20% of its donations for programs that help women realize their full
potential, professionally and personally. Most prominently, our annual Frontrunner Awards honor women
who have made a difference to society and who inspire other women to excel (past recipients include
Madeline Albright, Linda Alvarado, Marian Wright Edelman and Maya Lin). Frontrunner Awards are
offered annually to one woman in each of four categories -- the arts, business, government, and the
humanities. A $50,000 grant is given in each Frontrunner's name to a non-profit organization that addresses
the interests and concerns of women. For a list of current Frontrunner recipients, please see the Sara Lee
Foundation Web site.
The Sara Lee Corporation Women's Roundtable is an annual forum that brings together 12 to 15 women
leaders from a variety of disciplines to discuss and debate pressing contemporary trends and issues. The
Women's Roundtable concept permits the corporation to explore and monitor issues of concern to all
women and to the greater society. Previous topics have included "women and leadership;" "crime and
personal responsibility;" "creating a level playing field for women in sports;" and "women voters: will they
make a difference in American politics?"
The Sara Lee Classic, now in its twelfth year, is one of the most prestigious golf tournaments on the Ladies
Professional Golf Association tour. Held annually in Nashville, TN, the Sara Lee Classic provides a
showcase for more than 144 professional women golfers. Over the years, the Sara Lee Classic has also
donated more than $500,000 to charity.
Sara Lee Corporation started as a food company, and our food businesses account for about half of our total
annual revenues. As such, we take an active role in the campaign to eradicate hunger.
We regularly fund more than 25 organizations working to wipeout hunger. We have a long-standing
relationship with one such group, Second Harvest. This national network of 180 food banks provides
donated food and grocery products to 26 million needy people annually. In 1995, we presented the Chicago
Spirit Award to Open Hand Chicago, the city's leading HIV/AIDS food-nutrition service program. The
Award is the Foundation's annual gift to an innovative organization helping people in need.
Sara Lee Corporation believes its employees should help direct our donations, and a significant portion of
our annual giving is decentralized through them. Each year, Sara Lee Corporation employees in more than
600 locations nationwide use our Matching Grants program to direct about $1.3 million of the Foundation's
funds to the nonprofit organizations they choose.
Our divisions also contribute volunteer time, make product donations, and give cash contributions annually
to local causes such as adopting schools. They also may nominate local organizations for the Foundation's
annual Leadership Award, a $25,000 grant given to groups that improve disadvantaged lives. A recent
winner was the Family Violence Prevention Fund headquartered in San Francisco, CA. The national
organization is dedicated to preventing domestic violence.
A critical element of good corporate citizenship is a thriving, diverse workforce. Sara Lee Corporation is
determined to provide an open environment where all employees can contribute to their fullest potential.
We strive to have women and minorities represented at all levels of the company.
Women comprise almost 60% of our workforce, with 44% in positions as officials and managers. Minorities
comprise 33% of our workforce, with 14% who are officials or managers. Currently, two women and two
minorities serve on our 19-member board of directors.
Sara Lee Corporation supports programs such as "Make the Connection," a recent African-American
leadership forum, to build a healthy, diverse work environment.
Excellence in the provision of Communication services and products.
To not only meet, but to forecast and address the needs of our clients in the various industry sectors in
which they compete…today.
SERVICE… means we care about the needs of those who receive the products of our work, and we
endeavor always to meet those needs at the right time, at the right quality and at the right price.
INTEGRITY… means we are honest, open and straightforward in the way we do our work.
COMMITMENT…means we believe in the vision and mission of Par Excellence, and that we pursue with
determination and enthusiasm the achievement of the organization’s business objectives and the
maintenance of a safe, happy and healthy work environment.
INNOVATION… means we keep ourselves up to date on global developments that are relevant to our
work, and that we continually seek to identify and implement better, safer and more cost-effective ways of
doing what we do.
TEAMWORK… means we understand that we depend on one another for effective performance, and that
we are constantly seeking ways in which we can help our teams and workgroups to be more flexible, more
efficient and more enjoyable.
RESPECT… means we treat one another with courtesy and consideration - we value diversity and renounce
discrimination on grounds of race, religion, sex or cultural background.
PROFESSIONALISM… means we take pride in the quality and delivery of our services and products, in the
standards and skills we apply to our work, and in our willingness to learn and to share the benefits of that
learning with others.
Know Your Purpose
We can start by inquiring into what we mean by mission anyway. It is very hard to focus on what you cannot
define, and my experience is that there can be some very fuzzy thinking about mission, vision, and values.
Most organizations today have mission statements, purpose statements, official visions, and little cards with
the organization's values. Nevertheless, precious few of us can say our organization's mission statement has
transformed the enterprise. In addition, there has grown an understandable cynicism around lofty ideals
that do not match the realities of organizational life.
The first obstacle to understanding mission is a problem of language. Many leaders use mission and vision
interchangeably, or think that the words -- and the differences between them -- matter little. However,
words do matter. Language is messy by nature, which is why we must be careful in how we use it. As
leaders, after all, we have little else to work with. We typically do not use hammers and saws, heavy
equipment, or even computers to do our real work. The essence of leadership -- what we do with 98 percent
of our time -- is communication. To master any management practice, we must start by bringing discipline
to the domain in which we spend most of our time, the domain of words.
The dictionary -- which, unlike the computer, is an essential leadership tool -- contains multiple definitions
of the word mission; the most appropriate here is, "purpose, reason for being." Vision, by contrast, is "a
picture or image of the future we seek to create," and values articulate how we intend to live as we pursue
our mission. Paradoxically, if an organization's mission is truly motivating it is never really achieved.
Mission provides an orientation, not a checklist of accomplishments. It defines a direction, not a destination.
It tells the members of an organization why they are working together, how they intend to contribute to the
world. Without a sense of mission, there is no foundation for establishing why some intended results are
more important than others are.
However, there is a big difference between having a mission statement and being truly mission-based. To be
truly mission-based means that key decisions can be referred back to the mission -- our reason for being. It
means that people can and should object to management edicts that they do not see as connected to the
mission. It means that thinking about and continually clarifying the mission is everybody's job because, as
de Geus points out, it expresses the aspirations and fundamental identity of a human community. By
contrast, most mission statements are nice ideas that might have some meaning for a few but communicate
little to the community as a whole. In most organizations, no one would dream of challenging a
management decision because it does not serve the mission. In other words, most organizations serve those
in power rather than a mission.
This also gives some clue as to why being mission-based is so difficult. It gets
to the core of power and authority. It is profoundly radical. It says, in essence,
those in positions of authority are not the source of authority. It says rather, that the source of legitimate
power in the organization is its guiding ideas. Remember, "We hold these truths to be self evident...” The
cornerstone of a truly democratic system of governance is not voting or any other particular mechanism. It is
the belief that power ultimately flows from ideas, not people. To be truly mission-based is to be democratic
in this way, to make the mission more important than the boss, something that not too many corporations
have yet demonstrated an ability to do.
While this might appeal to our ideals, living this way is extraordinarily challenging. We are all closet
authoritarians. For most of us, it is the only system of management we have ever known, starting in school.
To be mission-based, and to be values-guided, is to hold up lofty standards against which every person's
behavior can be judged. Moreover, mission is inherently fuzzy, abstract. It is so much easier to make
decisions based on "the numbers," habit, and unexamined emotions. To be mission-based requires everyone
to think continuously.
However, it can be done, and when done it can work. The largest commercial enterprise in the world, in
terms of market value, is not Microsoft, General Electric, or Mashushita. It is VISA International, whose
annual volume exceeded $1.25 trillion in 1997. If its different member organizations' balance sheets of VISA
products were combined and assessed according to common banking practices, it is estimated that its
market value would exceed $333 billion. However, VISA is not a typical corporation.
It is a network of 20,000 owner-members, who are simultaneously one another's "customers, suppliers, and
competitors," in the words of founding CEO Dee Hock. VISA's innovative governance system grew from an
extraordinary effort to clarify purpose, which, after several years, emerged as "to create the world's premier
system for the exchange of value." "Truly clarifying purpose and the principles which elaborate our deepest
beliefs can be the hardest work you will ever do," says Hock. "But without it, there is no way to create an
enterprise that can truly self-organize, where you can balance broadly distributed decision-making function
and control at the most local level with coherence and cohesion at any scale up to the global."