Men on a Mission

Via the estimable Mr Worstall, purveyor of the ever excellent Britblg Roundup (now at #40) and editor of this year’s must have Christmas gift; 2005: Blogged, in which your humble chronicler gets a mention – buy the book and have all the fun of RSS feeds in the bath without the risk of electrocution (that’s enough shilling for now) – we fine that PC Copperfield is back (Yay!)and in fine form with this quiz on the rivetting subject topic of inane Police slogans. Surely a candidate for a Mastermind specialist subject if ever there was one.

All of which puts me in mind of an email I received a couple of years back, in my previous job, from the local Fire Service, which happily informed me that they were in the process of trying to come up with a new mission statement and could I, therefore, send then a copy of my employers mission statement and any ideas I might have to help them with this monumentally important task.

The truth is, I never did get around to replying [how remiss of me] not because my employer didn’t have a mission ststement – it did, although ironically, for those who know about such things, our mission statement was actually a vision statement while our vision statement actually set out our mission (not that management could ever figure that one out) – or because I was lacking in ideas but because I really couldn’t think of a way to respond which didn’t involve pointing out that whatever they came up with, if it didn’t start out by mentioning the importance of putting out fires then I for one would not be coughing up for that portion of my council tax bill which paid the wages of the idiots writing the mission statement.

Maybe I’m being rather too prosaic here but ‘We put out fires’ seems to be a pretty fair mission statement for a Fire Brigade in much the same way as ‘We catch criminals’ works for me when it comes to the matter of a mission statement for the local constabulary – anything else they might want to add to that would be fine if a touch extraneous, but I think both capture the basics of the public’s legitimate expectations of their emergency services.

Being a firm believer in the principle of ‘less is more’ there are one or two other professions where such a plain-speaking approach would be refreshing, for instance:

Accountancy – We hide your money from the Taxman
Inland Revenue – We take your money and prosecute your accountant
Solicitors/Barristers – Win or lose, we always get paid

I’m sure you can think of others…

  • My employer’s mission statement is “make as much money for Oscar as possible”.

    I am self-employed.

  • wiggles

    Politicians – We tell the truth. Trust us, we’re politicans.

  • Is this the Ronseal school of mission statements – vacuous statements of the bleeding obvious?

    Perhaps lawyers should have a variant on the old John Lewis motto, say “Never knowingly underpaid”.

    Sun journalists could borrow the Napoleonic French saying “To lie like a bulletin”. Hmmm, mission accomplished there, I think.

    What about landfill sites? “Creating tomorrow’s archaeology today.”

    I had to write a mission statement for our museums service recently, but that’s another story.