Sunday, March 26, 2006

Pers: Mission Statement: An act of clarity or vandalism?

Lucy Kellaway is a business commentator for the BBC and also writes for the Financial Times. She talks mainly about corporate behaviours, and is particularly ascerbic. She is wildly sceptical of management fads and corporate double speak. Always good value, and usually I agree with her. She sometimes throws the baby out with the bathwater, but she sparks healthy debate.

I'm not sure that she'd be completely happy with the concept of a mission statement, but I think it can provide clarity. On the other hand, it can vandalise in two ways:
a) It can be a waffly shelter for management to hide behind. In particular, it can be downright misleading, if it tries for a combined audience of management, workers, shareholders, regulators and public. Because those stakeholders tend to have strenuously competing interests. Beware.
b) It can tie down an endeavour to words that may ossify and hinder its progress.

Having said all that, here is my mission statement for this blog.

Mission Statement
I intend to record for posterity and debate noteworthy ideas that might otherwise be lost as ephemera.

In fact, that is not enough to describe this blog, so I’ll go into more detail.

I am fired by an urge to understand, to make sense of the physical and human world. I want to know, to analyse, to debate, but further than a simple quest for knowledge, I’m seeking wisdom. Much harder. And needing more humility.

Entries are totally wide-ranging, although typically I aim to record the most striking idea/thought that I notice that day. Sources could be anything, although they tend to be based on something I read in the paper, hear on the radio, or see on the web.

I am putting up five entries per week. This is a constraint to a) instill some discipline into the process, and b) not make it a real daily grind. However, thoughts go by steam (thanks, David Thomas), and they can’t all be doozies. Especially when I haven’t that day noted an idea/thought/item of news that I feel particularly passionate about. At that point, I dredge through some less immediate ideas. Eample: this entry.

I really welcome debate. Ideally, the entries would stand the test of time, and for that reason I reserve the right to refine entries – yes, revisionism! I have, however, noted when I have done that.
Philosophically? I don’t know how wise it would be to state what strands this blog is informed by. Maybe you should work it out yourself. Watch this space, though.

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