I’ve been reminded of a great book I read years ago. The author told a wonderful story about mission statements. Most are overly lofty, overly wordy, overly pompous plaques that hang on the wall in the lobby that no one reads, or understands, or remembers, and certainly could never recite.
In the book we are told about a company employee who rented a helicopter, with no permission or authority, to fix a problem that had brought the company to a grinding halt. The problem was solved and “We Rent Helicopters” became the mission statement for a company that had nothing to do with helicopters. The entire staff knew the story, new employees were told the story, and “We Rent Helicopters” became a cultural icon in the company.
Some years ago, in an all station meeting, a similar opportunity presented itself where an event occurred, and in the signature moment, the assignment editor said, “Take Your Pants Off”. Everyone in the room knew what it meant and related to the moment. It was an icon…but only temporary. After I suggested “Take Your Pants Off” become the mission statement for the newsroom, it was shot down because, you know, you can’t tell people in a corporate setting to take their pants off. During the rest of my time at that station a similar collective moment never presented itself.
You can’t create a moment like that, but you can be on the lookout for it.
I hope you will plan to join us for a visit with James Spann on the next episode of Weather Insiders, Friday, June 28 at 11:00am eastern. More information at weatherinsiders.com.