Do you have a personal mission statement?
A mission statement gives identity to an organization, its purpose of existence and what it intends to do to its identified customers. This is important as it provides guidance on how an organization operates and how it plans on pursuing its goals. Vision, mission statement and core values are three important identities of an organization.
Do you love ice cream? Read on…
Taking their $5 ice cream-making training and an initial $12,000 capital, friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield occupied a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont, and started an ice cream business that would become a major name brand not only in the United States, but in many countries all over the world. Ben & Jerry’s launched in 1978 with a promising future, although its first few years were not without hurdles and challenges that included a lawsuit (and a campaign) filed by Ben & Jerry’s against Häagen-Dazs for unfair competition.
However, just 10 years after selling its first scoop, Cohen and Greenfield were awarded “US Small Business Persons of the Year” by President Ronal Reagan. In 2000, the company was bought by corporate giant Unilever.
Ben & Jerry’s, although well-known for its delectable ice cream flavors, is also an advocate of various environmental causes such as global warming, energy evaluation, sustainable agriculture, and even its opposition to New Hampshire’s nuclear power plant. On its end, Ben & Jerry’s supplies waste ice cream to a pig farm in Stowe, Vermont for the swines’ delight, launching a lobbying campaign in the congress to support auto efficiency standards, and even managing its in-house eco-waste standard program like recycling card board boxes, sponsoring a study for alternative fueled vehicles, and introduction of unbleached paperboard as ice cream pint. Carol J. Elsen even commends Ben & Jerry’s popularity as “saintly social consciousness as for its sinfully delicious ice cream.” (Elsen 2006).
As Ben & Jerry’s values environmental concerns, it also does the same to its customers and employees. The Ben & Jerry’s Joy Gang, which started in 1987, serves with a mission to “infuse joy in everything we do.” This group inculcates joy at work in 3 ways: Joy Grants – cash incentive that will realize a fun idea for a certain department; Joy Events – structured, and announced events for employees that usually include food, games and prizes; and Joy Guerilla Tactics – unannounced activities geared at surprising employees.
These prove that Ben & Jerry’s is true to its 3-way mission, i.e. to produce the finest quality ice cream while minding the environmental impacts of its production (Product Mission), sustainable growth of its investments and its people (Economic Mission), and helping find ways to improve quality of life in the world (Social Mission). Moreover, the company web site underlines its central to the missions mentioned above to be “the belief that all three parts must thrive equally in a manner that commands deep respect for individuals in and outside the company and supports the communities of which they are a part.” (Stress mine). It is noticeable how this organization deeply values people – those who are on either side of an ice cream shop counter – its employees, and the people they serve.
Carol J. Elsen, “”True to Yourself: Leading a Values-based Business/Values-driven Business: How to Change the World, Make Money and Have Fun,” Library Journal, Vol. 131, Iss. 10 (June 1, 2006); New York, p. 132.
Photo credits: “Twin treats” courtesy of http://buffetofjoy.blogspot.com/2011/01/craving-for-cherry-garcia.html