It is the Mission (Statement) that Leads Us

Dec 02, 2010

ABC News conducted a week-long series on China.  One segment focused specifically on America’s competition with China.

Diane Sawyer sat down with billionaire Jack Ma, the head of the Alibaba Group to discuss the competition between the two countries and the “Chinese Dream.”  There is little doubt that the two powers are competing to be world’s economic leader.  Jack Ma believes the real competition is who believes the most in the American dream.  An interesting statement in and of itself.

Later Ma talks about the comparison and the challenges of each nation.  That is for the U.S. to remain #1 and the challenge for China to move from #2 to #1.  In short, the challenge for Americans is to make quicker decisions and move faster.  In another video excerpt, Ma also talks about working harder.  The challenge for the Chinese is more difficult and that is innovation and creativity.  The Chinese need to learn, understand and instill a culture of innovation.

Ma goes on to says, “Being number 1 is the result.  It’s not the goal.  It is the mission that leads us.  What is the mission for the U.S.?  What is the mission for China?  Always think about the mission.  And the mission drives you.  It is not being #1 that drives you.”

I’ll guess that Jack Ma is well versed in strategic planning.

Applying this to the world of corporate strategic planning, the challenge is in the strategy development and next in the strategic implementation.

To start, the mission statement is a statement of the organization’s purpose. The mission simply explains who you are and why you exist.  Your mission statement should serve as a guide for day-to-day operations and as the foundation for future decision-making.  Ma believes that the Chinese are executing strategy.

I would take this a step further and say that China is looking 5 – 10 + years ahead.  In the world of strategic planning, a vision statement does this.  A vision statement is a picture of what your organization’s future makeup will be and where you are headed. It helps delineate the activities to be pursued and the capabilities to develop, and infuse the organization with a sense of purposeful action. It delineates the future focus and where the organization is going.

Video Links for ABC News:


For the full series, click here

For a deep dive on Mission Statements, check out our post on all things mission.



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