“What is your organization attempting to accomplish?”
According to the Baldrige Excellence Framework, this question addresses your mission: your organization’s overall function. The mission might define customers or markets served, distinctive or core competencies, or technologies used.
A Mission Statement of the People
In a wonderful speech from 2005, Sr. Mary Jean Ryan, president and CEO (retired) of SSM Health Care, the first Baldrige Award recipient in health care, said, “For any organization, the mission is the lifeblood. . . the fundamental reason why we do what we do.”
She went on to talk about her health care system’s early challenges with not having a common mission statement, instead allowing its health care facilities across seven regions the autonomy to identify their own missions and values. SSM eventually “discovered” a 13-word mission statement, involving nearly 3,000 employees at every level of the organization from every one of its entities, she said.
“It wouldn’t have taken long for our communications department to come up with a catchy mission statement . . . that everybody in the system could relate to,” said Ryan during her presentation. “But we realized that a mission statement . . . must be of the people, by the people, and for the people. . . . If a solid mix of employees has not helped create the mission statement, it will not truly belong to them, and the potential to transform your organization will be hindered.”
In 1999, after a year-long process, SSM came up with the following mission statement that is still used today:
“Through our exceptional health care services, we reveal the healing presence of God.”
The SSM website says that the mission statement and values are known by every employee and used to guide decisions and how staff members treat one another. Ryan said, “The mission and values must . . . be an internal guidepost to our own behavior. Because if we don’t treat one another well, how can we ever expect that our patients will feel that they’ve experienced the healing presence of God?”
PENW is a partner of the Alliance of Baldrige Programs and the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. To find the complete article, visit Blogrige, The Official Baldrige Blog.