Mission Statements

I’ve got a quiz for you today. Can you guess who’s mission statement this is?

Consistently create encore experiences that enrich lives one person at a time.

No, it isn’t my blog’s mission statement because I don’t have one. I’m not a fan of mission statements, especially overly vague statements like the one above. If you can’t figure out what my blog is all about after reading an article or two, then I’ve failed. Likewise, if you can’t figure out a restaurant’s mission after eating there, no mission statement is going to help.

So who’s mission statement is this? It could be for anyone. “Encore experiences” makes me think of the symphony, but that’s not it. “Enrich lives”? That’s a pretty bold statement for a business to make. But this statement could apply to anyone, from an art gallery to a prostitute, and everyone in between.

Zaxby’s

Yeah, the chicken place. Don’t get me wrong, I kinda like Zaxby’s. They are an above average fast food joint. But this mission statement is absurd. They must be proud of it because it is often printed on my receipt. But give me a break! Are chicken fingers enriching my life? Do they make me a better human being? I get some calories, protein,  carbs (and a lot of fat) while eating here. They give me some energy I suppose. Enriching? Encore experiences? Hardly.

The unfortunate reality is that several man-weeks of work were probably wasted at Zaxby’s corporate HQ coming up with this statement. They probably sat in a conference room with a large whiteboard, writing down words. Some got scratched off and some got moved to the “parking lot” to wither and die. Break out teams were formed to explore concepts like “one person at a time.” When it was done, they probably labored over the word “consistently”, wondering if it was powerful enough to begin the statement. These wordsmiths took it all very seriously. The leader of the group (probably a young kid with an MBA) I’m sure got a good performance review the following year. The next year, when the economy went sour, he was the first on the layoff chopping block. All the wordsmithing in the world isn’t gonna sell more chicken fingers.

I cringe every time I read this at Zaxby’s. Why? Because in the past I’ve been in that group laboring to produce nonsense like this. I know how fruitless an endeavor it can be, yet I know how seriously bosses can take it. And I know how overly vague statements like this actually distract from the true mission of an organization. In Zaxby’s case, their true mission is simple… SELL FREAKING CHICKEN!

Perhaps they read the mission statement to each new hire. Maybe some pimply-faced high school will be inspired by it, prompting her to create an encore experience while taking my order. Who am I kidding. This mission statement is indescribably bad!

2 Responses to “Mission Statements”

  1. BS February 27, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I doubt that they have MBAs at Zaxby’s. Not that it would make much of a difference.

    The owners probably read a bunch of business mags and sat in front of something like http://38i.biz/buzzword/ to line up as many meaningless buzzwords they could.

    I wonder if they have employee pep-talks before every shift.

  2. ryan December 27, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    We don’t mean change your life like completely make it different, it just means maybe your day is a little bit better because the people who took your order were really nice, which we really strive to do. Okay.

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