There are many guidelines for developing mission statements and examples to follow. Stephan Covey offers excellent guidelines in his book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People". Some basic thoughts he offers from Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind are;
Covey also states, "once you have that sense of mission, you have the essence of your own proactivity. You have the vision and the values, which direct your life (or organization). You have the basic direction from which you set your long- and short-term goals. You have the power of a written constitution based on correct principles, against which every decision concerning the most effective use of your time, your talents, and your energies can be effectively measured." Your mission statement becomes your organizational focus.
One example of a corporate mission statement is by IBM who says they stand for three things; the dignity of the individual, excellence, and service. Short and succinct it is also very focused. How about the Dupont Corporation mission statement of "better living through chemistry"? Another poignant mission statement.
In the area of hazmat response programs mission statements also provide a focus. One example of a hazmat mission statement is, "The purpose of the hazardous material response team is to identify, locate, confine, and contain the hazardous material during initial emergency operations, if the capability exists to complete tasks safely, to the extent necessary to protect human health and property." This is just one sentence in which all personnel can review and find a focus.
Once the organizational or program mission statement is formulated and agreed upon it should be posted for all personnel to read and on which to focus. It should be referred to often and everything you do should be consistent with it. In essence it becomes your North Star; your guide for all operations.
Based on the mission statement program goals should also be developed. Goals are the important milestones that the program strives to achieve along the journey and they should be realistic and achievable. They too, will take time to develop and all personnel should have input in their development. Some examples of hazmat program goals for a training program may be;
Training Plan Goals;
1. For all firefighters to be competent and feel confident with their hazmat skills.
2. For all communication specialists to know how to take a hazmat or terrorism related call and then assist and support responders on those emergencies.
3. For all senior staff to know their responsibilities as incident commanders and how they can assist hazmat team efforts.
4. For hazmat team personnel to be competent and feel confident with their Technician Level skills and;
- To all score above 70% on written knowledge level assessments
- For the hazmat team core personnel to score above 80%
- For the average score for all hazmat team personnel to be 78%
- For all personnel to rate all phases of their knowledge and confidence in Technician Level skills above 7 (scale 0 to 10)
5. For all hazmat team core personnel to average over 9 hours of hazmat training per month.
6. For the fire department to be in total compliance with all state and federal training requirements for hazardous materials response by July 1, 2002.
7. For the department to be in total compliance with the minimum recommendations of National Fire Protection Association's Standard 472 for hazardous materials training by January 1, 2003.
All of these efforts serve to provide the route that your organization or program takes. It is the strategic planning that is essential to the quality and focus of any endeavor. History has proven that the organizations that have employed these concepts are the ones who have succeeded. Finally, when these concepts are employed correctly it should feel good for everyone who is involved. If it feels good it probably is good-ethically, morally, legally, etc., and all personnel and their efforts will reinforce what was developed. A clear vision for your organization or program and the path your entity decides to embark on should also feel good deep down in your gut.
The Join-Up! Principle