Why We Have a Mission Haiku Not a Mission Statement

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Human Potential
Creating Relationship
Building Sacred Space

I have never been a fan of business mission statements.  They seem trite.  This is not to say that a company’s mission is not important. It is. But the perfunctory encapsulation of a formulaic statement seems inauthentic and lacking.  When, as a young business owner, I  heard business “authorities” consistently insisting on a mission statement. I thought about my objections and decided a mission haiku would work better for the following reasons.

  • A haiku is unapologetically overly distilled
  • Like all poetry, a haiku uses nonlinear relationships creating complex meaning
  • A haiku does not pretend to be objective
  • A haiku invites participation  

Alternately, we could take the mission statement of about 90% of companies and we would enthusiastically say, "yeah, we want to do that too." To have meaning, our priorities must be laid out in context. That requires more understanding than is delivered in a single paragraph.  Without that context, mission statements encourage misunderstanding or even deception. For example, Enron’s mission statement included a commitment to integrity.

Mission statements draw boxes around who you are and what you want to do. Boxes are by their nature limiting. Having a haiku rather than a statement suggest that we resist, or at least question, limitations.