Mission and Vision Exercise
An organization requires a mission, a focus that guides its operations, and a plan to accomplish the mission. The mission and plan together form the overall strategy, which must be implemented for achieving success. Even though an organization can have a good mission, difficulties may arise. It can involve problems with the plans aimed at this mission realization, failure to implement the plan, the broadness of the mission, and its failure to give enough guidance to focus on day-to-day operations. This paper conducts an analysis of Central Ohio Transit Authority’s (COTA) mission statement, using nine mission statement components.
Rao, Rao and Sivaramakrishna define a mission statement as an enduring statement of purpose essential for effective establishment of objectives and formulation of strategies. A mission statement, in its essence, is the purpose for the organization’s existence. If this statement is well conceived, it will define a fundamental unique purpose that makes the organization different from other companies of its type. It can also help identify the scope of its operations in terms of markets served and products offered. The mission statement also comprises of the company’s philosophy on how it conducts business and treats its employees. According to David, the mission summarizes and describes an organization’s product, market, and technological areas of emphasis in a way that reflects the priorities and values of the strategic decision makers. David observed that the mission statement is “a creed statement”, “a statement of purpose”, and “a statement of philosophy” that reveals what an organization wants to be and whom it wants to serve. This paper analyzes the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s (COTA) mission statement and rewrites a revised one that conforms to characteristics of a mission statement described by David.
Central Ohio Transit Authority’s (COTA) Mission
COTA is a communal sector transport organization that serves the people of Franklin County, the Greater Columbus and the entire Central Ohio region. COTA also serves some parts of Fairfield, Delaware, Licking and Union Counties. Nowadays, this transit company manages bus transport services in its service area that comprises of over 1.2 million residents, providing in excess of 19 million annual passenger trips. Owing to the support COTA receives from the community serves, it now offers more comprehensive buss services with longer operation hours and extra lines. COTA has its bus garages together with its administrative offices in downtown Columbus. This transit firm is run by a President, who is also the CEO and a thirteen-member board. COTA boasts of having slightly above 308 fixed-route buses, 58 of them being paratransit automobiles or demand-responsive transport. COTA is proud of its ever-in-transition corporate culture, which focuses on creating a continuous learning organization that exists due to the values that it has set. It also understands that it exists to provide transport services to every resident in and visitor to the community.
COTA’s mission is three-pronged: (1) To be committed to excellence in serving its stakeholders (taxpayers, employees, and customers); (2) To deliver quality transportation services and carry out business reliably, ethically, safely, and courteously; (3) To demonstrate leadership that is environmentally conscientious and fiscally responsible. COTA’s vision is to be the region’s transportation leader. This transit agency’s value is to have a work environment where employees are proud and dedicated to work, treated fairly, well respected, and are productively engaged as mutual partners in the achievement of organizational goals.
Analysis of COTA’s Mission Statement
David asserts that mission statements are more than statements of purpose. Rather, mission statements are declarations of attitude and outlook, customer orientation, and social policy and responsibility. In terms of a mission statement’s characteristics, a good mission statement is expected to be short, clear and easy to understand. According to Rao, Rao and Sivaramakrishna, a mission statement should have specific characteristics. It should not be lengthy, but clearly articulated, broad, but not too general, as well as inspiring, being able to arouse positive feelings and emotions. In order to reflect the organization’s worth, it should be relevant, topical, unique, enduring, dynamic, and customer-oriented. Moreover, it has to offer basis for guidance, have a declaration of social policy, and lay emphasis on values, beliefs and philosophy.
David and Lewis, Goodman, Fandt, and Michlitsch agree that mission statements may vary in terms of length, format, content, and specificity. However, an effective mission statement must be comprehensive enough to include all the key components. These nine important elements are, “the basic products or services; customers; primary markets; concern for growth, survival, and profitability; company philosophy; company self-concept; concern for public image; concern for employees; and concern for quality”. Most of these components are captured in COTA’s mission statement of being committed to excellence in serving its stakeholders (taxpayers, employees, and customers); delivering quality transportation services and carrying out business reliably, ethically, safely, and courteously; and demonstrating leadership that is environmentally conscientious and fiscally responsible. However, the components of survival, growth and profitability have not been captured in this mission statement. Besides, the statement is also broad, lengthy, and does not arouse positive feelings and emotions. This mission statement is also not inspiring and is not clearly articulated.
COTA’s Revised Mission Statement
As discussed above, COTA’s mission statement has some minor limitations in terms of portraying COTA’s growth, survival and profitability. Solving these components, COTA’s revised mission statement will read as follows: “Our aim is to continue delivering quality and comfortable transport services reliably, ethically, safely, ecologically conscientiously, responsibly, and courteously to our customers”
A mission statement often provides a sense of purpose to the whole organization, giving its employees reasons to excel. When the mission is clearly defined, it provides a basis for everything from productivity to ways of conflicts resolution. Additionally, when the mission statement is inspiring, it helps to keep employees focused and on track. A mission statement sets the direction of the business organization by identifying the key markets it plans to serve. As such, a mission statement should have one or more of the nine distinct and identifiable components described by David.