ManagementSpeak: I operate on a higher value plane than you do.
Translation: My last connection with operational responsibility was too long ago to remember.
As a ManagementSpeak provider, this week’s anonymous contributor operates on the highest of value planes.

I’ve found the perfect Mission Statement.

No, really. You’ve heard it too. Chances are you were too busy drinking beer (as was I) to recognize it as a mission statement at the time.

Here it is: “Less filling, tastes great.” It’s perfect.

Your mission is your brand, or at least it should be. Branding is often confused with name-recognition, but a well-managed brand is much more than that. When a business builds a brand, it’s establishing the expectations it wants customers to have when doing business with it. That’s why the best companies spend more time and effort managing their brand internally than they do with their customers. It’s to ensure that when marketing makes promises, the company will keep them.

Smart business leaders consider their mission and their brand to be nothing more than opposite sides of the same coin.

Imagine if IT professionals had been put in charge of Miller Lite’s brand. “We provide malt-based fermented beverages to the commercial and residential marketplace, delivering the highest quality and lowest caloric intake consistent with our profitability goals by optimizing our supply chain, standardizing the brewing process, and implementing a program of continuous improvement.” Aaaughhhh! It’s too horrible to contemplate. Think about the expectations you’d set … or perhaps expectorations is a better term.

What did you think, a mission statement has to be long and windy, with lots of bullet points? Nope. Those that are missed the golden rule of mission statement wordsmithery: Ban the word “by.” Once you put “by” into your mission statement you’ve moved beyond branding to the executive summary of a white paper on IT operations. Because once you say “by” you’re obligated to follow it with every strategy, tactic, operational technique and whim you might pursue in furtherance of your goals. “By” turns a taut mission statement into a flabby, boring list of bullets.

How about you? Right about now “Less filling, tastes great,” is a pretty good mission statement for many IT organizations — as useful for that purpose as it is for branding barley pop. Think about adopting that exact phrasing. Or if your corporate culture is less whimsical, change it to “Lower costs, better technology,” (assuming, of course, that this fits what you’re trying to accomplish).

Learn from the brand masters. When it comes to your mission, limit yourself to five words or less.

Then promote the daylights out of it … especially inside your own organization.