How statements of intent help your team

Mission, vision and value statements cover every part of an organization. Learn why they have worth for your maintenance team.


mission statement
When a mission is felt deep within an organization ... everybody is focused, and amazing results occur. Photo by Shutterstock

Mission statements were popularized in the 1980s as a way for organizations to articulate who they are and what they do. Today, these declarations appear throughout an organization’s messages and communications and are featured prominently on organizational websites. And now, these mission, vision and value statements have an even greater importance as they expand to the divisions and departments within an organization. When I walk into an office or lobby or visit a website for the first time, I immediately look for some reference to the organization’s purpose.

By definition, a mission statement is a concise explanation of an organization’s or department’s purpose and its overall reason for existing. The mission statement supports the vision and serves to communicate purpose and direction to employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders.

Vision and value statements are slightly different. A vision statement looks forward and creates a mental image of the ideal state that the organization or department wishes to achieve, while a value statement lists the core principles that guide and direct the organization and department culture.

GCSAA does a good job of putting its mission — “GCSAA is dedicated to serving its members, advancing their profession and improving communities through the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf” — and vision statements — “To be the global leader in golf course management” — front and center in everything it does.

Now I challenge all golf course superintendents to develop a mission statement of your own, stating why your maintenance department exists, the value you create and those who benefit from your role in making the condition of the golf course a source of pride that provides a pleasant experience to those playing the course.

In a previous article I wrote for GCM (see “How to manage your manager” in the August 2021 issue), I wrote about your club’s mission and suggested crafting and displaying a mission statement for your maintenance department that builds off the one already in place at your facility. I wonder how many of you did that? It’s a relatively easy exercise but a valuable one that helps you align your team’s goals with those of the overall facility.

To get started, you need to understand your facility’s mission. Not all golf facilities have written mission statements, but your team still fits into accomplishing a common goal or purpose. Figure out where your team’s efforts best fit, and share that knowledge with not only your team members but also your facility’s green committee and board members.

Next, get to work on the actual mission itself. Ask yourself, “Why do we exist?” and “What is our purpose?” Remember that most mission statements average 29 words, so keep it short, simple and impactful. As you develop your mission statement, remember that you’re not alone. I encourage you to involve your entire team in the process. Remember, this is an exercise that is valuable to all and can be a great team-building opportunity.

Once you have a mission statement in place, don’t keep it a secret. Make sure you and your team know the mission and how they impact it every day. It can even be a great tool to use in hiring and asking candidates how they feel about working within such a purpose.

As you and your team work to finalize your mission statement, don’t be afraid to shoot for the stars. My favorite one is just 12 words — “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Can you guess whose mission statement that is? Yep, Google. When a mission is felt deep within an organization, like it obviously is at Google, everybody is focused, and amazing results occur.

Bernie Cronin — president and founder of Bernie Cronin International, a corporate consulting firm that assists organizations in achieving their organizational goals — is a frequent presenter at the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show.