Mayor Jon Mitchell said "we must continue to focus relentlessly on making New Bedford, quite simply, a really nice place to live" during his State of the City Address on Thursday.

That statement, quite simply, is one of the best mission statements I have ever read in my professional life. When Mayor Mitchell decides to move on (and it will be his choice when he leaves office) he has a third career track: crafting corporate mission statements that mean something and can be followed by employees. Mission statements, when done properly are a compass and a shaper of the organization's culture.

Too often we hear about specific goals of government officials in terms of numbers and statistics. The numbers and the statistics are extremely important but they don't inspire the men and women in the trenches. The numbers and the statistics are great at evaluating performance after the quarter ends, but they can't guide the decisions made at a moment's notice. Only a powerful mission statement can inspire and guide the workforce.

Look at some of America's great corporate mission statements:

"Townsquare is a diversified media, entertainment, and digital marketing service company that owns and operates radio, digital, and live event properties. The Company specializes in creating and distributing original entertainment, music, and lifestyle content." - Townsquare Media

“To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” - Facebook

“We save people money so they can live better.” - Walmart

“To prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.” - American Red Cross

The city of New Bedford has a mission statement now too: "continue to make the city a really nice place to live."

What a wonderful and easy question to ask oneself when making a decision as an employee, resident, or visitor to the Whaling City -"Will this make New Bedford a really nice place to live?"

I will ask myself "does blasting Elvis with my car windows down in the summer make it a better place to live" and probably turn down the volume. Hopefully, the clown with the spray paint will make a similar sacrifice. Sometimes, maybe often, people will disagree about what makes the city a nice place to live but focusing on that goal will lead to cooperation and success.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. Email:

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