Re: Troop Mission Statement
Ed Darrell (EDarr1776@AOL.COM)
Sun, 11 Aug 1996 19:50:43 -0400
John Cross expresses deserved reservations about troop mission statements,
then proposes, "Let's have fun and we might accidentally learn something."
I made a good living for five or six years leading large and small
organizations to articulate mission statements and goals, and tie them to
annual plans and quarterly plans and strategic plans and budgets and
Tom Peters put it best when he moan about all the mission statements on
walls, and said that the best-phrased mission statement is lost if its posted
on a wall or carried around on plastic wallet cards **and not written on the
hearts of every member of the organization.**
"Fun" is something every kid carries in his heart anyway. Living the Scout
Law 24-hours a day and wearing the uniform correctly are hardly goals that
will inspire most Scouts to smile, to live the Law and oath, or to have fun.
Those of us who've been at it for 30 years or more know that more fun can
result from correct uniforming and if we live the oath and law -- but better
to use those as tactical tools toward the strategic goals of having fun and
building people for a better future.
Don't confuse tactics with strategy. Don't lose sight of the larger goals
with smaller ones. Don't incorporate into your mission statement something
that doesn't make the people who have to live it stand up and say, "Yeah,
I recommend you let the kids kick it around for a while.
And don't forget the Shorthand Plutarch description of the great orators,
Cicero the Roman and Demosthenes the Greek: "When Cicero spoke, the people
said how well he spoke. When Demosthenes spoke, the people said 'Let us
In this metaphor, Scouting is about marching, not talking about it.
Every kid wants to be a hero, a champion: Scouting gives every Scout a shot
at doing just that. Being a hero means a lot more than wearing the uniform
I think I agree that there is probably little "missioning" needed beyond the
Scout Oath and Scout Law, at least strategically. There IS a lot that needs
to be done in the average troop/pack/post/ship about how to connect
day-to-day activities to getting the strategy. Mission statements should be
inspirational beacons rather than a list of "don'ts" with a few "do's."
Rather than draw up a statement about wearing the uniform, talk about what
the troop leadership would have to do to inspire kids to wear the uniform
correctly at all appropriate events. In the short run this is much, much
more difficult. In the long run it is easier, and it will build a foundation
for how to inspire much, much more.
Ed Darrell, Duncanville, Texas
P.S. -- For vision and mission statements, I still recommend (among others)
"The Leadership Challenge," by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
(Jossey-Bass 1987). Kouzes is an Eagle, one of a dozen who served as
President John F. Kennedy's Honor Guard at the inauguration in 1961. He's
been director of the Executive Development Center at Santa Clara University,
and was at one time CEO of the Tom Peters Group. One of the chief themes is
the need for leaders to inspire rather than command, and it has a lot about
how to do just that.
My favorite source, however, remains the Patrol Leaders Handbook.
Mission statements are only as good as the actions made to bring them to
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City