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I've always been an adherent of Mission Statements, for much of my life.

They give me "a reason" to get up in the morning and go to work.

They give me a sense of actually being a part of something bigger than just me.


When it comes to the US Government lately, I fear our National Missions have become exceedingly muddy over the years.  What is it as a Country, are we really trying to accomplish anymore?  Does anybody even know?


Some background on what a Mission Statements is and does:


Mission Statement -- wikipedia.org

A mission statement is a statement of the purpose of a company, organization or person, its reason for existing.

The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides "the framework or context within which the company's strategies are formulated." It's like a goal for what the company wants to do for the world. [1]


How to Write Your Mission Statement

entrepreneur.com -- October 30, 2003

[...]
Answering the following questions will help you to create a verbal picture of your business's mission:

    Why are you in business? What do you want for yourself, your family and your customers? Think about the spark that ignited your decision to start a business. What will keep it burning?

    Who are your customers? What can you do for them that will enrich their lives and contribute to their success--now and in the future?

    What image of your business do you want to convey? Customers, suppliers, employees and the public will all have perceptions of your company. How will you create the desired picture?

    What is the nature of your products and services? What factors determine pricing and quality? Consider how these relate to the reasons for your business's existence. How will all this change over time?

    What level of service do you provide? Most companies believe they offer "the best service available," but do your customers agree? Don't be vague; define what makes your service so extraordinary.

    What roles do you and your employees play? Wise captains develop a leadership style that organizes, challenges and recognizes employees.
[...]


Some examples of what a what a Mission Statement(s) looks like ...


You have your concise and pithy:

Our Starbucks Mission Statement

Our mission:  "to inspire and nurture the human spirit -- one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time."


And you have your more cerebral and wordy, statements of existential Missions ...
Ben & Jerry’s is founded on and dedicated to a sustainable corporate concept of linked prosperity. Our mission consists of 3 interrelated parts:

Social Mission: To operate the Company in a way that actively recognizes the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.

Product Mission: To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.

Economic Mission: To operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our stakeholders and expanding opportunities for development and career growth for our employees.


Those may be good to know, eh .. the next time your choosing between competing Ice Cream providers at your local supermarket. Or that next hot cup of "inspiration."


SO, does the U S of A have any Mission Statements?  

If not, we should. If yes, we should pick a day each year to see "how well were doing" in that regard.

I would suggest some of the following as our perennial metrics, for gauging how successful we've been (or not been) in meeting the founding Missions, of our still imperfect Union:

Constitution

Article. I

Section. 7.

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
[...]

Section. 8.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
[...]

Section. 9.

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
[...]


Article. II.

Section. 2.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices [...]


Article. IV.

Section. 4.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.
[...]


Constitution -- Preamble  {Our National goals, scope, various missions?}
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Bill of Rights


Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
[...]




Fast-forward to the early 21st Century.  

We have a culture and a society where everyone loves a sound bite; the shorter the better.

(Just see: the success and popularity of Twitter for the proof of this modern communication principle.)

If you can't say it on Twitter, then (much of the virtual audience) assumes you can't really say it.
Whew, with 40 characters to spare!


So here are some to-the-point guidelines to make those Mission Statements soar right across the Twitter-verse:

5 Tips for a Useful Mission Statement
inc.com

1)  What Does Your Company Really Do?

[...] An intelligible mission statement is essential to clarify the intentions of your business.

2)  Include the 4 Key Elements

[...] There are four key elements found in effective statements: Value, inspiration, plausibility, and specificity. In a couple of short sentences, you should be able to convey the value of your company or why your brand exists, inspire and encourage your employees, sound completely reasonable and plausible, and be as specific and relevant as possible.
[...]

4)  Consider Long-Term vs. Short-Term

[...] While short-term mission statements allow you to be more specific with your goals, they also need to be updated more often to stay relevant. If you want the statement to be a long-term reflection, use global language indicative of your company's purpose, regardless of how much your company might expand in the future.


Finally, here's the Exercise of today's too-wordy diatribe:

What are the Twitterized Missions of the United Stated of America?

Quick you got 140 characters to say it. Here's my suggestion:

To Establish, Protect, Encourage, and Build: the worth of the Individual, the fabric of Society, and the example of our National Character.
Whew, with 1 Character to spare, too!


By the way, you may find this bite interesting ...

Twitter’s mission statement is “to instantly connect people everywhere to what is most meaningful to them.”

“As a brand, if you’re going to be using Twitter, map yourself to the mission,” said Marcus Nelson, director of social media at Salesforce, at the Social Media Strategies Summit. [...]


Afterall, we ALL need a "meaningful" reason to exist ... preferably several of them.

May they all be ethical, valid, and somehow contribute to that "better world" that were all supposedly building ... since the time of the founders.


Oh yes, one more thing ... Happy 237th Birthday, America!  

Perhaps the 4th, can also serve as our recurring "National gut-check" time ...



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