… reads something like this: “We will exceed the expectations of our customers, maintain a rewarding work environment for our employees, maximize returns for shareholders, and be responsible corporate citizens, while infusing excellence in all that we do.“
This statement is so broad as to be meaningless: It could apply to any company, and therefore says nothing about what your company should do. It provides your team zero guidance as to how to allocate scarce resources, or where to focus their creativity and innovation.
A great mission statement declares what your company is going to do better than other companies, and for whom. It should be broad enough to allow flexibility and the ability to evolve, and can be updated every five or ten years – but it must actually say something specific and meaningful about how your company is unique, and how your strategy will allow you to outperform your competitors. And it had better be credible rather than hyperbolic – or it will be ignored by your team.
It is far harder to write this type of mission statement than the vacuous sort listed above – and that is precisely the point. If you’re not able or willing to rigorously arrive at this vision, then you don’t yet have a strategy to win sustainably over time. That in turn means that everything else you’re doing ultimately will be for naught. You can ignore the hard work of crafting a truly winning mission and strategy, but you cannot escape it.