Copyright 2014 Nikolas S. Boyd. Permission is granted to copy this document provided this copyright statement is retained in all copies.


Nik Boyd
Policy Vision Governor provides governs Business Mission Values directs Improvement Feature Activity Requestor improves requests oversees

In the context of this Model, a Mission statement

describes the Effect(s) to be achieved by some Business Activity(s) [the Efforts]

aligns with a Vision [the Ends].

Key Point

Ends are best expressed with descriptive adjectives.


During the mid 1970s, John Carver created the breakthrough Policy GovernanceSM model for board leadership. Carver recognized that values permeate and dominate all organizational life. For this reason, the Policy GovernanceSM model emphasizes values, vision, empowerment and strategic leadership.

Creating a Mission Statement that Makes a Difference provides Carver's essential guidance on crafting mission statements. His primary recommendation for mission statements is that they reflect the intended ends of an organization, rather than its means. These ideas can be summarized as follows:

Ends are best expressed as effects that are qualitative (valuable) changes in the world. Thus, ends are best expressed using adjectives that describe the intended effects, i.e., a state (of being) to be achieved. Descriptive adjectives especially indicate such states of being. For example, compare:

depot safety, or a safe depot.

This simple linguistic shift can have a profound impact on how we conceive of and discuss business quality concerns and the intended ends of a business. As the expression of a concept shifts from noun to adjective, the emphasis likewise shifts to a concern for some measurable quality.

As in this example, what makes a depot safe? What are the measures associated with a safe depot? We can explore these questions more fully using a series of trace cards. However, we can begin by considering safety as a mission theme.

Safety as a Mission Theme
safety regulatory compliance
safe hazmat storage ensure safety compliance
minimize depot vulnerability
prevent depot closure
prevent litigation
accept all drums that can be safely stored
allocate drum storage space within licensed limits
allocate drum storage space to minimize vulnerability