And while I’m on the subject of ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘values’, ‘goals’, ‘aims’, ‘ethos’ and ‘culture’…

Ah, those words that appear on so many corporate websites… ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘values’, ‘goals’, ‘aims’, ‘ethos’ and ‘culture’… And, ah, those lengthy brainstorming meetings with flip-charts listing bullet points beneath each heading. ‘What our business stands for’… ‘Our aims’… blah blah. Plus endless meaningless corporate jargonese. Big words and phrases that sound good, but which mean naff all, at grass-roots level. Even worse is where a company has a ‘mission’ AND a ‘vision’. Or indeed any combination of these irritating words that, at the end of the day, don’t make any difference to the service the customer receives unless a company actively goes out of its way to consistently walk its talk. Or worse still, where a business has obviously copied and pasted another company’s meaningless jargon and adopted it as its own ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘values’, ‘goals’, ‘aims’, ‘ethos’ or ‘culture’ statements.

Personally, I wouldn’t buy products or services from a company on the basis of its lofty ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘values’, ‘goals’, ‘aims’, ‘ethos’ or ‘culture’ statements. I would buy products or services based on quality, value, service and the warm feelings I get for that particular company. I want a business to be out to please me, as the customer, not to focus exclusively on making money or talking hot air about its ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘values’, ‘goals’, ‘aims’, ‘ethos’ or ‘culture’.

Also, surely some of these words imply that all the good stuff is still to come? The words ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘goals’ and ‘aims’, for instance, imply that a company isn’t quite there yet. There is still more to do. They are underperforming right now, but – with any luck – things will improve in the future once their ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘goals’ and ‘aims’ begin to materialise.

Personally, I want to do business with a company that’s good NOW. Not somewhere down the line once they get their ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘goals’ and ‘aims’ sorted out.

And, I’d argue, that the customer-in-the-street doesn’t give a toss about a company’s ‘mission’, ‘vision’, ‘values’, ‘goals’, ‘aims’, ‘ethos’ or ‘culture’ either.

So come on, businesses, let’s talk Plain English to customers and convey what your company stands for by your actions. Not by lofty, meaningless, corporate words.

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