Banter Bites

It’s A Bird. It’s A Plane. It’s A Mission Statement?

What can you, a superhero, and corporate America have in common?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: If someone said “Superman” to you, we suspect that you’d probably be like Red, who thinks of the comic book character, although a few people might be like Black, who immediately thought of … mission statements. (Really! You can’t make this stuff up!)

Red will admit that she managed to survive the first 40+ years of her life without knowing what a mission statement even was. After all, she was a stay-at-home, self-proclaimed, warm and fuzzy mom, so why should she care about what’s obviously a business concept? On the other hand, she’d love to tell you all about her childhood memories of coming home from school and watching reruns of the black and white Superman TV series from the 1950s starring George Reeves. (She’d point out that it was many years after they were first released, and then mention for those who remember the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve, that the two actors weren’t related and spelled their last names differently).

Fast forward to when Red was going through her “crisis” (her word, not Black’s). Black introduced the concept of mission statements to her – but not in terms of her concept and business plan for Red & Black, the company. Instead, it was when Black was out of town for a weekend racing her Ferrari,

During my years in corporate life, I wrote many mission statements, but it never dawned on me to write a personal one. Until this weekend. And before you ask, a mission statement is a short paragraph, or sometimes just a concise sentence, that summarizes the purpose of the business and what is most important to the company. This weekend, I found myself wanting, not the usual list of racing goals or objectives, but a sense of my reason for being. And a mission statement, if used correctly, does exactly that … it communicates focus and helps keep a sense of direction.

But what’s the connection to Superman? For Black, it was obvious. She remembered that in late 2021, Superman’s “mission statement” was evolving yet again – from the well-known fighting for “Truth, Justice and the American Way” to “Truth, Justice and a Better Tomorrow.” Yes, the change was most likely driven by the fact the Superman character does well internationally, so why restrict it to the “American Way,” although it was also a way to distance Superman from American politics?

Red, the lover of history, was fascinated to learn that Superman’s “American Way” only originated during the 1940s as part of the World War II effort, not as part of the original comic books of the 1930s, but when she thinks of Superman,

For me, Superman is pure entertainment. Not political. Not a business model. Although I can see where he’s inspirational, regardless of the specific slogan or mission statement. And I admit, it could make you think about your own mission statement.

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