Mission statement
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Since 1984, a little-known FTC regulation has made it mandatory for every American company to publish a "mission statement". The mission statement is a brief definition of the company's purpose. The mission statement must be one sentence and must include the words "solutions" and "quality".   Other words strongly recommended include "world-class", "enhance", "marketplace", "global", "value", and "customer".

The mission statement must be included in as many company documents (annual reports, business plans, company softball team schedules, designated smoking area signs, etc.) as possible. This causes the team members to understand the importance of their work and their place in the corporate machine. Also, it is of vital importance that all potential customers be reminded of the company's mission statement whenever possible. In ancient times, many customers had no choice but to buy products from a supplier who did not have a mission statement, but nowadays the customer's first question is not "Do you sell this thing that I need?" but "May I see your mission statement?"

A good mission statement should include exactly the right amount of truth. For example, it should be general enough not to pin the company down to a particular locale or product (NOT e.g. "The Sudbury Wheeled Amusement Company builds and sells roller blades and skateboards."), yet it  should not be so honest as to state simply that the purpose of the company is to make money (e.g. " The E-Lucre company exists solely to float an IPO atop the current fashion trend in internet stocks so as to enable the CFO and his brother, the CEO, to divert as much capital as possible into a byzantine tangle of untraceable personal accounts before the company's true financial condition becomes apparent to the stockholders.")

The language and syntax of a mission statement fit a structure every bit as rigid as that of classical literary forms such as the limerick, the sonnet, or the haiku, although rhyme and meter are specifically prohibited in the mission statement. Some rules are simple, such as the mandatory inclusion of certain key words, while others are more arcane, such as the requirement that in its mission statement a company must never "sell products" but rather must "provide solutions".

In the past, the writing of the mission statement was usually taught as a separate senior-level class in most undergraduate business administration programs. Nowadays, however, most mission statements are generated by state-of-the-art software which utilizes recent advances in the fields of artificial intelligence to combine the results of heuristic syntax parsing with the eigenvalues of polyphase set manifolds to convert raw corporate data into an appropriate mission statement. These data include such items as the running quotient of the odd digits in the previous fiscal year's gross sales figure, the compass angle in degrees of the sidereal direction in which the CEO's office chair faces at sunrise on summer solstice, the numerological values of the vowels in the Christian names of the officers of the company, and the aspect between Jupiter and Saturn on the date of the company's founding.

Our company's mission statement, synthesized in accordance with the above rules, is:

"The David Sherman Engineering Company is a world-class supplier of quality product and service solutions providing enhanced value to our customers in the global marketplace."


Copyright 2008 David Sherman Engineering Co.