Well, we have all been on the courses and know all about the supposed importance of above. But it can be overdone. And sometimes it's is even a joke. I remember the session at the Top Managers Programme I did with the civil service some years back when they described an example of the perfect mission and vision statements. They were from Enron!
But they can also be a great way of anchoring your work. We are currently reviewing our own statements in ACEVO as part of our 3 year strategic review, which follows on from a large survey of members, non-members and stakeholders.
It needs to be clear and simple. Something that moves beyond spin and rhetoric. A great example was on my brother's daily retailer column recently.
He quoted the excellent Johnson & Johnson corporate credo. Written by the founder himself in 1943, there is fantastic clarity in the language; "We must provide competent management and their actions must be just and ethical" and “We must be good citizens: support good works and charities and pay our fair share of taxes".
Perhaps Starbucks, Amazon etc. could learn?
I'm just on the train to Oxford. Speaking at my old College (Christ Church) to students about working in the third sector. And who knows, perhaps internship opportunities! It means dining on High Table. You will get the picture if you have ever watched Harry Potter as Christ Church Hall is one of the sets for the films!
Have just been at Monitor to talk about their fair playing field review. They have been tasked by the DH to come up with recommendations on some of the barriers to fair competition between the sectors. It's crucial to the many charities and social enterprises who want to expand their offer of better focused services. It has been a well conducted consultation and the team of staff at Monitor is highly competent and engaged. I am confident of a good report. It will then be down to the DH and Commissioning Board to implement what they suggest.
It is interesting to reflect that since the listening exercise the fuss and hassle around the very idea of competition is dying down. As I said to David Bennett it is hard to imagine a politician now talking about the “magic of the NHS ...not values of markets, money and exchange but values of compassion, care and co-operation ". I quote from a Conference speech of Ed Miliband last year. Time has moved on. We realise many parts of the NHS fall short of the standards of care and compassion we do expect from our NHS and that these can and should be provided by other providers like charities as well as the public sector.
But perhaps my most fun part of the day was meeting the Professor of Fundraising at Bologna University (Italy’s oldest). They are in advance of the UK in having a masters degree in charity fundraising. They hold an annual gathering and convention for fundraisers. It attracts big audiences and is perhaps a touch more fun than other such events as is Italian! They want me to speak next year. What a surprise I said yes!