Mission Statement Conflict, by Brent M. Jones

With correct policies and procedures along with a mission statement, most problems just don’t happen. Do we believe that?  To start with, how do we get a mission statement that has anything to do with the polices and procedures? Looking at the problems the Human Resource Department deal with regularly might be a good start.

The way people understand the policies and procedures clearly present conflicts to some people with their understanding of the goals and objectives of the business.  

If the mission statement has no direct relationship to policies and procedures, then it can be even harder to work out conflicts where people believe they understand the goals. Management and employees might be looking at the same rules and procedures but may believe in very different objectives and results.

Consider an employee being disciplined for excess French fry waste who justifies it with an interpretation of the company’s goals, that the company wants the customer to "enjoy their food". The employee knows that fries are enjoyed hot, not cold, and disposes of the cold fries, increasing the waste, rather than serving them. If the mission statement reflects the goal to have the customer enjoy their food, then it should override the policy on waste and shift the focus to why the fries are getting cold?

Mission statements, however, often go way beyond things that relate to the function of the business where the employees put their efforts. Coca Cola’s mission statement is: “To refresh the world…To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…To create value and make a difference.” Hyatt’s mission statement is: “To provide authentic hospitality by making a difference in the lives of the people we touch every day.” Nike’s mission statement is:” “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. * If you have a body, you are an athlete.” John Doe’s Burgers & Fries Restaurants hypothetical mission statement could be: “To have their customers enjoy their food and always get hot fries.”

Do any of these mission statements help the employee make daily job decisions? John Doe’s Burgers & Fries mission statement does. Who wrote these mission statements? Was it the business owners, the management, the H.R Department, the advertising department or agency, that wrote it?

Maybe the message is that when you have problems brought to your attention listen and don’t kill the messenger.