Next time you’re forehead-smashingly bored, check out the mission statements of the Fortune 500, including this gem from supermarket giant Albertsons:

“Guided by relentless focus on our five imperatives, we will constantly strive to implement the critical initiatives required to achieve our vision. In doing this, we will deliver operational excellence in every corner of the Company and meet or exceed our commitments to the many constituencies we serve. All of our long-term strategies and short-term actions will be molded by a set of core values that are shared by each and every associate.”

Mission and vision statements should inspire and provide employees with direction and clarity of purpose. Albertsons’ statement instead makes me want to stab myself in the ear with a screwdriver.

Dean Foods’ statement is no better:

“The Company’s primary objective is to maximize long-term stockholder value, while adhering to the laws of the jurisdictions in which it operates and at all times observing the highest ethical standards.”

It’s better to have no mission statement than a crappy one, so if you’re going to bother, put a stake in the ground and make it memorable. How?

Keep it simple.

An essentialist approach — from Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less — recommends that instead of crafting your statement by immediately obsessing over word choices, ask the more critical question, “If we only get one thing would we want X or Y?”

Consider the late Southwest Airlines founder and CEO Herb Kelleher, who was as pointed as his legendary cowboy boots when he launched Southwest to be “THE Low Fare Airline.”

Legend has it someone from marketing at Southwest once told Kelleher her research indicated that passengers “might enjoy a light entrée on the Houston to Las Vegas flight” and that perhaps instead of offering only peanuts, they could serve “a nice chicken Caesar salad.”

Kelleher responded, “Will adding that chicken Caesar salad make us THE low-fare airline from Houston to Las Vegas? Because if it doesn’t help us become the unchallenged low-fare airline, we’re not serving any damn chicken salad.’”

Give it a Higher Purpose.

Patagonia wants to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm (and) use business to inspire solutions to the environmental crisis.”

Warby Parker “offer(s) designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious business.”

Cradles to Crayons, a Massachusetts-based not-for-profit, “provides low-income children with the essential items they need to thrive by connecting communities that have with communities that need.”

Clear, aspirational, and inspirational.

Now — no peeking: What does Albertsons believe in?

Need help writing something sticky? Let’s chat.