Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Mission Statement - Microsoft

Contrary to the Mission Statement of General Electric (GE)(see former post), the Mission Statement of Microsoft sounds a bit dull. I can't imagine Microsoft employees being moved by their Mission Statement. It is short, full of platitudes and the Mission, frankly, could be the Mission of any consultancy company in the world. I don't think they actually felt a need to produce a Mission Statement at Microsoft, but somehow in a moment of weakness an HR executive (not at the company anymore) realized he could stand out by writing the below Statement. Since then the 'thing' has been parked on the website.


Our Mission
At Microsoft, our mission and values are to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.

Our Values
As a company, and as individuals, we value integrity, honesty, openness, personal excellence, constructive self-criticism, continual self-improvement, and mutual respect. We are committed to our customers and partners and have a passion for technology. We take on big challenges, and pride ourselves on seeing them through. We hold ourselves accountable to our customers, shareholders, partners, and employees by honoring our commitments, providing results, and striving for the highest quality.

Corporate Citizenship
Every successful corporation has a responsibility to use its resources and influence to make a positive impact on the world and its people. MicrosoftÂ’s Global Citizenship Initiative is focused on mobilizing our resources across the company and around the world, to create opportunities in the communities where we do business, and to fulfill our commitment to serving the public good through innovative technologies and partnerships.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mission Statement - General Electric

Only GE can carry the below Mission Statement. For any other company the below Mission Statement would sound preposterous. It is the statement of a winner, it is as if their former CEO, Welch, is talking to you. It could be a speech of a student leader, bold, fearless, undaunted, prepared to deliver, but yet unfounded and therefore amusing. In this case however it is the passionate inheritance of a generation of company builders, managers, leaders who promised to build and know they already achieved their goals today and in the past. There is a clarity and certainty between the lines that makes you shiver.


Values - Imagine, solve, build and lead - four bold verbs that express what it is to be part of GE. Their action-oriented nature says something about who we are - and should serve to energize ourselves and our teams around leading change and driving performance.

For more than 125 years, GE has been admired for its performance and imaginative spirit. The businesses that we invent and build fuel the global economy and improve people's lives. Today, we are 11 technology, services and financial businesses with more than 300,000 employees in 160 countries around the world.

What unifies us? Our Actions and Values.

What we do and how we work is distinctly GE. It's a way of thinking and working that has grounded our performance for decades. It's a way of talking about our work and ourselves that takes the best from our past and expresses it in the spirit and language of GE today.
It's about who we are, what we believe, where we're headed, how we'll get there. It's how we imagine, solve, build and lead.

From the very beginnings of our company, when Thomas Edison was changing the world with the power of ideas, GE has always stood for one capability above all others - the ability to imagine. Imagine is a sense of possibility that allows for a freedom beyond mere invention. Imagine dares to be something greater. At GE, Imagine is an invitation to dream and do things that you didn't know you could do. Because at GE the act of imagining is fused with empowerment - the confidence that what we imagine, we can make happen.

Every business has to have a reason to exist - a reason that answers the fundamental question of "why are we here?". For GE, the big question has a simple answer: We exist to solve problems - for our customers, our communities and societies, and for ourselves.

From 0 to 60 in six seconds? Try zero to $5 billion in five years. It's not so much a vision for our future - where we're headed is in many ways a reflection of where we've already been. It's not a destination. It's a quest. A quest for growth. And when we look to the future, we know that for us, there's only one way to get there. Build. Lead. Imagine. Solve. Build. Each of these is merely a word without one vital element:

GE is already synonymous with leadership. But with this mantle comes responsibility. And it's not just a responsibility to maintain the status quo or manage what worked yesterday. It's the bigger responsibility to change. Because change is the essence of what it means to lead. It's a call to action that engages our unceasing curiosity, our passion, and our drive to be first in everything that we do.

We Are a Company to Believe In.

Imagine. Build. Solve. Lead.
In the end, our success is measured not only by our ability to think big, dazzling thoughts, but by our commitment to sweat the small stuff that brings ideas to life. It's a way - thinking and doing - that has been at the heart of GE for years.

The worth of this framework is how we translate it into our own personal work ethic and then extend it to our teams, businesses, cultures and different regions of the world. It's permission to cast aside any approach that seems dated - to imagine, solve, build and lead a better way of doing things.

While GE has always performed with integrity and values, each business generation expresses those values according to the circumstances of the times. Now more than ever the expression and adherence to values is vital. More than just a set of words, these values embody the spirit of GE at its best. They reflect the energy and spirit of a company that has the solid foundation to lead change as business evolves. And they articulate a code of behavior that guides us through that change with integrity. The words reflected here represent a revitalization of our values. They are a call to action that asks every GE employee to recommit to a common set of beliefs about how we work in our world today. And while some of these words are new in their expression, they are based on a continuum of how GE has grown and performed through generations. They are our words and our values... in our own voice.

  • Passionate
  • Curious
  • Resourceful
  • Accountable
  • Teamwork
  • Committed
  • Open
  • Energizing
  • Always With Unyielding Integrity

The GE Values Card

Friday, January 26, 2007

Mission Statement - International Herald Tribune - with a sense of humor...

The Mission statements keep coming in :-)
A very interesting mission statement is the one of the International Herald Tribune (IHT). Especially the last one of their Rules of the Road seems to energize some IHT employees.

Our Core Purpose
Enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high quality news, information and entertainment.

Our Core Values

  • Content of the highest quality and integrity--This is the basis for our reputation and the means by which we fulfill the public trust and our customers' expectations.
  • Fair treatment of employees based on respect, accountability and standards of excellence.
  • Creating long-term shareholder value through investment and constancy of purpose.
  • Good corporate citizenship.

Rules of the Road
Success at The New York Times Company means more than achieving our financial and journalistic goals. Our Company believes that all employees should conduct themselves in a manner consistent with our tenets of behavior, our Rules of the Road:

  • Be stewards of our Company's brand reputation and assets.
  • Treat each other with honesty, respect and civility.
  • Uphold the highest journalistic, business and personal ethics.
  • Keep a relentless focus on serving our customers.
  • Innovate to reach our full competitive potential.
  • Execute with urgency, agility and excellence.
  • Champion diversity.
  • Collaborate to harness our collective strengths.
  • Achieve results by challenging yourself and mentoring others.
  • Maintain perspective and a sense of humor.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Six Guiding Principles Starbucks Coffee Company

The '7 Winning Principles' of DowJones post triggered people to send me some other mission statements.
The Starbucks mission statement for example says:
The following six guiding principles will help us measure the appropriateness of our decisions:
  1. Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.
  2. Embrace diversity as an essential component in the way we do business.
  3. Apply the highest standards of excellence to the purchasing, roasting and fresh delivery of our coffee.
  4. Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time.
  5. Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.
  6. Recognize that profitability is essential to our future success.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The 7 Winning DowJones Principles

1. Make It Personal - all commit to make DowJones one of the world's most respected, admired and financially successful companies
2. Commit to the Virtuous Circle - excellent journalism, business and people are mutually reinforcing drivers of success
3. Live our Values - quality, integrity and independence, everywhere and always
4. Build Value - for our customers, shareholders and employees
5. Constantly Innovate - content, products, technology and business processes; purposeful change and smart risk-taking
6. Build Top Talent - attract, develop, motivate and retain the best, diverse talent; insist on teamwork; abhor silos
7. Get Results, Now - commit to action and results

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Barracuda Management

Management style typically to be found in large multinationals where CEO's are send to lead daughtercompanies bringing along long term strategies but are pulled back after one year to serve in another daughtercompany leaving the long term strategy to be altered or destroyed by the next CEO.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Humor Between Different Levels of Employees.

A friend sent me the following overview, illustrating the use of humor between different levels of employees. It consists of live examples of communication between Qantas pilots and Qantas mechanics.

After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a "gripe sheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that ground crews lack a sense of humor :-)

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.

By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident.

P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.

About humour in professional situations:
Kahn argues (1989:46): "Each statement contains its own truths. If we attend to these statements, and piece together their various truths from clues within the contexts of their expression, we can tap into a rich source of information for understanding the dynamics of individual and group life in organisations."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

My brother, Jan, recently emigrated to South Africa. He's considered an expert on 'creativity'. Years ago he created a virtual creative community, membership surpassing 4.000 members today ( His office helps or helped clients such as BMW, Diesel, Nike, Thalys, IMEC, Levi's... Although from Belgium, he is quite a popular speaker in Australia.

Now he and his family are facing the transition to a completely different culture. His two kids (6 and 5) re-entered school this week. Not their little Flemish local community school, but an American International School in South Africa, with...guards, fences, English, 50 nationalities, and a daily morning ceremony including the 'code'. During this ceremony all childeren will recite a short code of just 3 lines, after which anybody with an issue, can address the community publicly. This way enabling the children to learn to speak in public. There is a lesson here.

The 'code':
Take care of yourself.
Take care of the others.
Take care of this place.

American International School in South Africa
Morning Ceremony including the 'Code'

The 10 UN Global Compact Principles

The owner of one of the biggest exhaust companies in the world, a Dutch entrepreneur, is building a villa (mansion) right across the street where I live. When reading about his company I found out his company committed itself to the UN Global Compact and its basic principles. Some of these principles sound so 'normal' to us, it wouldn't cross our mind to incorporate them in our business mission statement. But if you are producing goods on a global scale, with major operating units in some well known low labor cost countries, it doesn't hurt to hear and see your company stress its belief in doing the 'right' thing. I can imagine it has a healthy impact on the mindset of the managers in such environments.

The Global Compact is an international initiative by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, bringing together businesses and UN agencies, the labour world and the civil society around 10 principles related to human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to promote responsible corporate citizenship so that businesses can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalization.
The Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of 10 core values:

Human Rights
  • Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
  • make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.


  • Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
  • the effective abolition of child labour; and
  • the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.


  • Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  • undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
  • encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


  • Businesses should work against all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bill Swanson's '25 Unwritten Rules of Management'

Swanson's leadership is based on management rules he developed over his 30-plus years at Raytheon. He is the successfull CEO of Raytheon Company, the fourth-largest space, governement electronics and defense company in the US ($21,9 billion/y), employing 80.000 people worldwide. Swanson joined Raytheon in 1972 working himself up from management level to CEO.
  1. Learn to say, "I don't know." If used when appropriate, it will be often.
  2. It is easier to get into something than it is to get out of it.
  3. If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.
  4. Look for what is missing. Many know how to improve what's there, but few can see what isn't there.
  5. Viewgraph rule: When something appears on a viewgraph (an overhead transparency), assume the world knows about it, and deal with it accordingly.
  6. Work for a boss with whom you are comfortable telling it like it is. Remember that you can't pick your relatives, but you can pick your boss.
  7. Constantly review developments to make sure that the actual benefits are what they are supposed to be. Avoid Newton's Law.
  8. However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts.
  9. Persistence or tenacity is the disposition to persevere in spite of difficulties, discouragement, or indifference. Don't be known as a good starter but a poor finisher.
  10. In completing a project, don't wait for others; go after them, and make sure it gets done.
  11. Confirm your instructions and the commitments of others in writing. Don't assume it will get done!
  12. Don't be timid; speak up. Express yourself, and promote your ideas.
  13. Practice shows that those who speak the most knowingly and confidently often end up with the assignment to get it done.
  14. Strive for brevity and clarity in oral and written reports.
  15. Be extremely careful of the accuracy of your statements.
  16. Don't overlook the fact that you are working for a boss.
    * Keep him or her informed. Avoid surprises!
    * Whatever the boss wants takes top priority.
  17. Promises, schedules, and estimates are important instruments in a well-ordered business.
    * You must make promises. Don't lean on the often-used phrase, "I can't estimate it because it depends upon many uncertain factors."
  18. Never direct a complaint to the top. A serious offense is to "cc" a person's boss.
  19. When dealing with outsiders, remember that you represent the company. Be careful of your commitments.
  20. Cultivate the habit of "boiling matters down" to the simplest terms. An elevator speech is the best way.
  21. Don't get excited in engineering emergencies. Keep your feet on the ground.
  22. Cultivate the habit of making quick, clean-cut decisions.
  23. When making decisions, the pros are much easier to deal with than the cons. Your boss wants to see the cons also.
  24. Don't ever lose your sense of humor.
  25. Have fun at what you do. It will reflect in your work. No one likes a grump except another grump.

About Swanson:
Swanson's success is no accident. He is highly principled. He answers 99.9 percent of his own e-mail and endears himself to those around him by remembering details such as the names of their children. He hits the ground running well before 7:00 a.m.; his typical day ends 14 hours later. More than half of his weekends are spent away from home, and, if he could, he would shake hands with each of Raytheon's 80,000 employees. Such attention to the human element has made Swanson an admired executive. Swanson is also known to build an inclusive culture. Swanson says, "Our commitment to diversity has made us a better company. To have diversity of thought and opinion expressed by the people in your organization is incredibly powerful. If you're able to harness that, there is no limit to what you're able to accomplish."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Management Books

A friend asked me recently if I had a list of good management books. It was a question I asked myself a few years ago to one of the Wall Street Journal trainers at the South Brunswick campus (NJ). She gave me following list:
First Break All the Rules- Marcus Buckingham
Discovering your Strengths - Marcus Buckingham
Managing the Life's transitions (Change) - Dr. William Bridges
Seven Habits of Highly Successful People - Stephen Covey
Good to Great - Jim Collins

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Best US Business Schools 2007

U.S.News released their list of top US Business Schools, 2007: The top 1o is:
1. Harvard University (MA)
2. Stanford University (CA)
3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
4. Northwestern University (Kellogg)(IL)
6. University of Chicago
7. Columbia University (NY)
7. University of California-Berkeley (Haas)
9. Darthmouth College (Tuck)(NH)
10. University of California-Los Angeles (Anderson)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Striking CV's

In 2007 cv's of people of interest will be added in a new subsection of this Impactroom blog. CV's are to be found in the left side bar under 'Striking CV's'. First CV to open the new category with is the extensive CV of Manfred Kets De Vries, director of Insead.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year 2007 !!

(tree I look upon out of my home study working on this blog)

The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year's Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you're married to. (P.J. O'Rourke)

Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to. (Bill Vaughn)

Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account. (Oscar Wilde)

But can one still make resolutions when one is over forty? I live according to twenty-year-old habits. (Andre Gide)

I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my life, is too much of a daily event for me. (Anaïs Nin)

The only way to spend New Year's Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears. (W.H. Auden)