Mission Statements

On Wednesday 27th June, Gordon Brown became the new British prime minister after ten years as a serving Chancellor of the Exchequer (BBC, 27th June 2007).After having accepted the ceremonial offer of the position from the queen, Gordon Brown and his wife went to 10 Downing Street, where a short speech was made to assembled members of the press.The content of this speech was interesting, because he made reference to his school days in Scotland, and in particular, to his old school motto (BBC Video Clip).

School mottos have been described by a BBC news article as an ancient form of mission statement (BBC, 28th June 2007).It compares the Latin mottos of the schools of the two leaders of the opposing political parties. Kirkcaldy High School (Gordon Brown's old school) has the motto”Usque conabor”, meaning 'I will try my hardest', whilst Eton school (David Cameron's old school) has”Floreat etona”, meaning 'May Eton flourish”. A surprising amount of schools, football teams and businesses employ a Latin motto, perhaps giving weight to the seriousness of their meaning.

In the modern business world, almost every firm employs a mission statement.In the Times 100 case study series, Tarmac's mission statement is presented as 'to be the first choice for building materials and services that meet the essential needs for the development of the world in which we live.' This provides clear evidence of the purpose of the Tarmac building, whilst also providing a backdrop against which to develop the corporate culture and business principles of the firm.


Brown is UK's new prime minister  – BBC News, 27 June 2007

What's in a motto? – BBC News, 28 June 2007

The Times 100 Case Study – Tarmac

BBC Video Clips:

BBC Video Clip – Gordon Brown Speaks at No. 10

BBC Video Clip – Parliament – Gordon Brown Special

Suggested Study Questions:

Does your school have a motto or mission statement?Does it represent the shared vision of your school?

Can you guess which companies have once had these mission statements? (Answers at the end of the next news brief!)

“We will market the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world. We will clothe the world.”

'Our vision is to be the world's best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.”