Wasting Time on Mission and Vision


“I think there’s so much time and effort wasted on setting forth mission statements and vision statements…” Karen Martin, author of, The Outstanding Organization.”

Pointless vision:

Compelling vision doesn’t cure sick organizations. Martin said, “Many organizations have these lofty visions and they can’t even deliver product to customers…”

Forget about it:

Martin said, “I’m a little cynical about the whole vision-mission when people can’t perform well and customers aren’t being satisfied.”

Sick organizations should forget about
changing the world and change themselves.

Aim low not high. Do less not more. The most important thing sick organizations do is get healthy.

Useful vision:

“Being able to just get your work done successfully is a more important vision for an organization than … solving world hunger, for example, if they’re not able to perform at high levels, yet.” Karen Martin.

Finding health:

Martin’s book explains the path to health:

  1. Clarity
  2. Focus
  3. Discipline
  4. Engagement.


Clarity is the first step toward health. Ambiguity prolongs sickness.

Band-Aids don’t help broken arms. Diagnose the real problem. Prescriptions for misdiagnosed issues make matters worse.

Fuzzy problems don’t get solved. Name them! Misdiagnosed issues cause organizations to:

  1. Cure symptoms, not causes.
  2. Apply damaging solutions that don’t help.
  3. Waste resources.
  4. Offend sincere, talented employees by misdirecting their energy.


4 minutes with Karen Martin explaining health over vision:


“If the mission or vision doesn’t directly effect how [front-line people] are doing their work then it’s … pointless.”


Facebook contributors fill in the blank: Don’t focus on organizational vision if ______.

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