Earlier this year, we decided to work on a company Mission statement for Cucumber Ltd.
Even though the team had been together for several years, agreeing on a mission in an unstructured way turned out to be way more difficult that we had expected. So we hatched an experiment.
We began with the outputs from the previous sessions where a mission statement had been discussed and I pulled out the words that were used. I derived some crude categories. I was intending to use: WHO? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? WHY? But most of the conversations went this kind of way:
WHAT we would do
BY doing what
HOW we will do it
We produced a Typeform with all these words in and asked everyone in the company to vote on whether a mission statement should include or exclude each word (leaving it blank if they didn’t mind either way).
We really wanted to ship so we decided to timebox, and offer everyone the chance to participate. Or not.
In a video-conferencing session we reviewed the votes cast and pulled out the most popular words. We then spent 5 minutes in divergent thinking – silently and separately composing different sentences on each slide of a deck using only the words that had been selected (OK, we cheated a little bit, and added the odd word or two to help make things scan).
At the end of the timebox these sentences were read out one by one in the flattest voice I could manage(!) We then went through and picked out the things that had particularly resonated with each of us.
Merging these into a single statement, with a focus on simplicity, brevity and meaning, we quickly converged on a mission statement we truly feel captures the essence of Cucumber Ltd: