OMG. Is this for real? Lol! I really hope this is not actually United’s mission statement? It looks like something a ten year old might write for his lemonade stand when Dad tells him he won’t give him any start up money unless he treats it like a real business. There are so many things wrong with this I do not even know where to begin. First of all, talk about aiming low. United wants to provide a level of service that makes them “a leader” in the airline industry. Nope, not even gonna try to be “the leader”, I guess they figure there is no chance in hell of that so they just throw in the towel right from day 1. The beauty is that by making such a low goal part of the mission statement, forever more they shall always be satisfied with being, OK I guess. Also, instead of providing “a level of service to our customers” how about defining what exactly “a level of service” is besides only as much, and no more than, what is required to make them “a leader” in the airline industry. Here’s a thought how about instead of just doing the bare minimum and providing any old level of service, act like a leader, and make it a goal to set a new standard of service, one that all the other airlines will look at and wonder how in the hell you managed to pull it off without going bankrupt. Maybe even put some metrics in there. You know measurable outcomes so you know if you are making progress towards your goals or not. I realize this is a mission statement and not a proposal or job plan but for a company that is struggling, adding real, measurable outcomes, to the mission statement might help bring some focus. It can always be changed later, it is not set in stone.

Let me give it a shot.

At United we are committed to setting a new standard for service in the airline industry. We will do this by finishing first every year in every service related category as measured by third party conducted industry surveys. These include but are not limited to: on time arrivals, overall customer satisfaction, price (value)/mile traveled, most non stop options, least flight cancellations, friendliest staff, and every other. When needed we will create new categories as we innovate in the service space like no airline has before. We will be the airline all others look to in envy and the first that consumers think of when they plan their next vacation or business trip.

Sounds expensive and hard right United? Yep, it probably is and you know what, that’s OK. A mission statement is often times meant to be aspirational, full of stretch goals and tough to meet objectives. That can be part of the point which brings me to part 2 of your crap sandwich of a mission statement. You know that to do this, this being the oh so difficult task of being “a leader” in the industry, you need to have “a product you are proud of.” Look, that is fine, everybody wants to be proud of stuff they make or do but guess what United, you are a service industry business, it really doesn’t matter what you want and nobody cares, least of all the consumer. I mean Geez man what were you thinking. A mission statement does not always have to be consumer focused but for a service industry business like yours it better mostly be. Same for your concern for your employees well being. Touching, but I am afraid having employees who “like coming to work everyday” is not going to help you win new business or take back market share from your competitors. If you want to continue to have a work for those employees you care so much about to come to everyday, you have got to do better than this.

p.s. I give business advice for free on Friday’s, all other days of the week I charge $350/hr, not including travel and incidentals. Lol!

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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