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Mission statements, values declarations, and vision projections

Edward Russell-Walling, 50 Management ideas you really need to know (Quercus 2007) at 49, differentiates three items, each of which a general counsel might seize upon. A mission statement articulates “our purpose, why we’re in business”; our values: “our style, what is unchanging and important about the way we work”; and our vision: “our goals, where we want to be in X years.”

As to law departments and mission statements, I have weighed in, and not positively (See my post of March 20, 2008: 18 references cited on mission statements.). My grievance is that mission statements are full of sound and fury … you know the rest.

Values declarations of law departments have triggered several thoughts (See my posts of Aug. 8, 2005: part of McKinsey 7S model; Dec. 19, 2005: active inertia and “beliefs that inspire, unify; and identify”; Feb. 7, 2006: values assessment at Cox Communications; May 31, 2006: all management reveals values; Sept. 17, 2006: expressed and revealed preferences; Oct. 6, 2006: Code of Conduct expresses values; Nov. 26, 2006: memes and memetics; and Jan. 10, 2008: employee engagement and values.).

The blurred line between “culture” and “values” remains, well, blurred (See my posts of Nov. 16, 2005; Nov. 20, 2007; Dec. 17, 2007; and May 30, 2006: culture and values.).

I have yet to write about vision projections by law departments, but the essential idea creeps into many mission statements.

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