Copyright 2002, Professor Jerome M. Katrichis




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C. 1. Mission

This section details the mission of the organization and/or the organization sub-unit for which the plan is being constructed. The mission serves to define the organization. It is a statement about what business the organization is in.

Good mission statements have to walk a fairly fine line in order to avoid being either to vague or too specific. A mission statement that is overly vague or general does not provide any guidance to the organization with respect to what it is trying to accomplish. For instance, a mission statement that says that the organization is in business to provide world class quality in all its products and services does nothing to define the organization. That organization could be a dry cleaner or a satellite manufacturer.

Mission statements should also avoid being overly specific. The classic example of an overly specific mission statement was that common in the American railroad industry in the early to mid twentieth century. Railroads very specifically defined themselves as being in the railroad business and every railroad was busy competing with other railroads. While the railroads were busy competing with each other, the bulk of their business was being taken away by other modes of transportation. This is why the U.S. has a relatively weak railroad transportation system today by world standards.

Mission statements that focus on a category of customer need tend to avoid the problems associated with being either too vague or too specific.

This section of the plan should not merely repeat the organization's mission statement, but should also present an assessment of the appropriateness of the mission for the organization today.




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