This article by Nancy Lublin at Fast Company struck a chord with me. She offers some very useful advice on how to "write a mission statement that isn't dumb." Let's face it... Most mission statements come filled with generalities and cliches. They fail to define what it is distinctive about a company. In fact, I often see mission statements that could easily pertain to a firm's direct rivals. When your mission statement is indistinguishable from your competitor's statement, you have a problem!
Here's Lublin's terrific advice on how to fix your firm's mission statement:
"Write a mission statement with a goal that's an action, not a sentiment; that is quantifiable, not nebulous. If you're trying to sell a product, how and how many? If you're trying to change lives, how and whose? Take your wonky mission statement and rip it to shreds. Then ponder your ambitions, and write and rewrite the thing until it reflects -- in real, printable words and figures -- the difference that you want to make."