The Training Center Mission Statement: More Than Mere Words
For over twenty years, IBG has championed a 7 Step Process that leads to effective and meaningful Strategic Business Plans for Public Safety Training Centers. In addition to this process, I believe another key element for success is the Training Center Mission Statement.
Why is a mission statement for your training center so important? Well, think of it this way. While the 7 Step Business Planning process provides a detailed step-by-step roadmap that is essential to the development, operation, and maintenance of your police or firefighter training facility, the mission statement offers a concise description of the fundamental purpose of the training center. It helps answer two critical questions: “Why is the training center important?” and “What good does it serve?”
Creating Effective Mission Statements
Mission statements may seem unimportant and overused in the grand scheme of things, but a well-crafted one can help bring focus to why the training center even exists. The mission statement sums up your department’s overall direction for what it hopes to accomplish at the facility. Here is an example of a mission statement that is clear and to the point:
“The purpose of the Training Center is to provide a safe, secure, and consistent location for public safety providers to train to peak standards.”
Useful mission statements generally feature most of the following characteristics:
- Simple and Declarative—A mission statement that is cluttered with trendy buzz words and jargon rather than basic declarations of goals and values is confusing and ineffective. It ends being a bunch of words strung together that basically…says nothing! Here’s such an example:
“Our mission is to recalibrate brands to broaden awareness, reframe global positions and re-connect with core customers. Our business is to help you form relationships and effectively engage.”
- Communicates Expectations and Ethics—A well-written mission statement should not only articulate the training center goals but also the methodologies that are essential to achieving those goals. A good mission statement includes declarations to which the agency’s leadership will commit and principles to which their staffs are expected to adhere.
- Periodically Updated—Just like the training center strategic business plan, mission statements can lose their vitality and relevance over time if they are not re-examined on a regular basis. Mission statements should be reviewed and refined periodically.
- Here are several other examples of excellent Public Safety Training Center Mission Statements:
“The Training Center will promote excellence in the user by employing state-of-the-art equipment and training, making a commitment to health and safety of emergency service personnel, and supporting the needs of the greater community.”
“The Mission of the Public Safety Training Facility is to provide a superior environment that enables emergency first responders to better protect those they serve.”
“The Training Center will serve as the district’s centerpiece for training and knowledge in collaboration with neighboring communities. The Center will strive to provide students with the highest quality training possible and will meet or exceed all Federal, State, and Local guidelines.”
Why a Training Center Mission Statement is Essential
Most public safety agencies have a general Department Mission Statement that gives people an idea of its overall goals for the organization. These statements may be generated and distributed to employees (usually included in an employee handbook or manual), posted at all stations and precincts, and prominently featured on the department web site for all to see. The Training Center Mission Statement is specific to one single facet of the public safety department, which may lead some to feel it is redundant and unnecessary given a department-wide mission statement. However, due to the specialized nature of public safety training, the cost of the facility, and the life safety issues associated with low frequency – high risk training activities, I believe having a strong Training Center Mission Statement is useful.
Writing The Mission Statement
Remembering that the mission statement sums up your department’s overall direction for what it hopes to accomplish at the facility, consider following these steps as you draft the statement:
- Don’t rush. Take your time when drafting a mission statement and consider the core goals of your department. This statement may go on numerous department documents, its website, and plenty of other materials, so it needs to be clear, concise, and well-written.
- Be focused. It may be tempting to draft a training center mission statement that sounds more like a press release or promotional marketing. However, a mission statement that is all fluff simply doesn’t sound genuine and serves no purpose. When writing it, get to the heart of your goals for the training center and why these goals are important to you and the department. While you may think that people reading the statement want to know about the details of the training center – such as the type of props or specific training that will be conducted – this is not the case. Remember, as stated above, the purpose of the mission statement is to capture 1) Why the training center is important and 2) What good it serves.
When produced in a thoughtful and careful manner, mission statements can be superb vehicles for communicating and establishing the importance of your training center. Going forward (after the strategic business plan has been developed), the mission statement will remind the training center leadership of the original intent, focus, and long term goals of the facility. So take the time to set down your own vision and mission. It might be a more useful exercise than you think and most certainly will set the training center intention for future generations.
Help Is Available
If you are considering a training center mission statement – and I hope you are – I’d be glad to help in any way I can. Please contact me if you’d like a second set of eyes to look at what you have developed.
Meet the Author’s;
Bill Booth – Bill created Interact Business Group in 1993 with the mission of developing strategic/business plans for Public Safety Training Centers. Bill possesses more than 20 years of experience developing business plans and strategic implementation models. He has assisted and directed public agencies and educational institutions throughout the nation by applying the best traditional business practices in the field of training facility financing, operating, partnering, and funding. Bill has been published in every leading law enforcement and fire service publication. Also, Bill has been asked to speak and share his knowledge and experiences at each nationally recognized trade and professional national conference.
Jeffrey Ringelman – Jeff had 30 years of distinguished service with Vacaville Fire Department where he rose from firefighter to Division Chief before his honorable retirement in 2006. Jeff has begun to use his extensive experience in the fire service to add immeasurable value to the preparation of Strategic Business Plans. He has been an IBG Project Manager for numerous Strategic Plans since 2008.