What is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is a short and simple sentence that describes the purpose of your organization. It captures your objectives, helps define your strengths and weaknesses, gives you a sense of where you're headed, and provides direction for the future.
The mission statement is the first and most important tool for strategic planning. A good mission statement should be concise, clear, and consistent with your values. It can be used as a compass and a benchmark to guide your organization. It's key to have a business mission statement that resonates with your employees, quality of customer service, and shareholders.
Moving forward, we’ll take a deeper look at the elements of a mission statement.
What are the key elements of a strong mission statement?
While there's no one-size-fits-all approach to crafting the best mission statement, several key principles can guide you through the process. With this in mind, let's take a look at what we consider to be the main elements of a strong mission statement:
1. Compelling Perspective
Ideally, the elements of your mission statement should be closely aligned with your company's core values.
A good mission statement is typically concise and simple in nature. It focuses more on values and impact rather than the description of functions and processes.
Be sure it expresses your organization's purpose or mission, sense of direction, and the meaning and significance it brings to people. This means that the mission statement should be meaningful beyond a mere collection of words.
In short, it must convey a clear and compelling perspective.
2. Values and Personas
The second element to consider is your value system and company culture.
A mission statement is not just a collection of words; it's a means of expressing your values and personality to the world. It can be a simple reflection of your values or an intricate expression of your core beliefs.
A mission statement is an opportunity to communicate the essence of your brand in a concise way and to share what your organization stands for and intends to do.
An actual mission statement should be clear and succinct; this means it should be written in simple and straightforward language, without the use of complex terms that are difficult to understand.
It should be easy for people to comprehend, interpret, and remember. With this being said, the simpler and clearer the mission statement, the better.
Thus, a mission statement should be both broad and simple. It should be broad (in terms of being aimed at a wide audience) but simple (from content to language).
4. Emotional Appeal
An effective mission statement will capture the emotional appeal of your organization.
It's not just a reflection of what your company does; it's a reflection of who you are and how you want to make a difference in the world. Remember to focus on what emotional connections you are trying to build. In other words, your mission statement should appeal to people's feelings and inspire them to think differently.
Rather than taking a bland approach, focus on reaching people emotionally and inspiring them by proclaiming your mission in a clear and compelling way. This means that it should resonate with memorable, positive, and emotional words.
Finally, a powerful mission statement must be long-lasting.
It needs to stand the test of time and remain relevant and meaningful over an extended period of time.
When crafting a mission statement, it's important to consider long-term perspectives. In fact, you can rewrite your mission statement to reflect changes within your organization. Whether you're changing direction or restructuring your company, a mission statement is a great opportunity to make adjustments.
In this sense, a mission statement should remain a living document that can be used as a compass for your company's future.
These are the key ingredients to a powerful mission statement. Now that you're familiar with the elements let's take a look at the main steps to building a solid mission statement for yourself.
What are the steps to building a mission statement?
The process to craft a simple and effective mission statement typically starts with taking some time to reflect on your business and it's key objectives, values, and aspirations. Don't be hasty here; instead, spend some time evaluating the current situation within your company and envisioning the future. Here are the main steps to follow during this process:
1. Know the purpose
Before you even think about drafting a first copy, it's important to determine your purpose. In other words, you need to understand the reasons behind creating a mission statement and what role it will play for your organization.
A good place to start is by reflecting on how you want to make an impact in your market and what goals you want to accomplish with your company. Essentially, this step will help clarify the reasons behind creating and implementing a mission statement within your organization.
2. Define the audience
Once you're ready to start drafting a mission statement, it's important to clearly outline who your audience is and create an audience segment list. Consider who the people are that you want to reach. This helps determine the type of language and tone to be used. Moreover, it helps you distill your purpose into words and translate it into an easily understandable message.
Spend ample time reflecting on the people who will read your mission statement: is it only for the employees or the board of directors or the general public?
3. Clarify, Explain, and Describe
Once you identify the audience, you’ll need to brainstorm ideas and evaluate several alternatives. It's important to spend some time thinking about what your company stands for and how you want the world to see it.
When you start drafting a mission statement, don't think it through step by step; instead, try to come up with multiple powers of ideas and evaluate them as a whole. This holistic approach is useful; in fact, it will help you find gaps and inconsistencies in your thoughts that need to be revised or removed altogether.
4. Choose the right words
As you start writing, focus on your choice of words.
A successful mission statement should be emphatic and captivating; it must appeal to emotions and inspire people. The selection of words is an essential part creating that emotional connection.
The goal is not simply to come up with the "most important words" but to come up with powerful and meaningful ones that will resonate with your audience and create a lasting impression.
5. Draft and review
Before beginning your draft, it's always a good idea to think about the draft in terms of different categories: content, structure, and language. Think about what you want to accomplish, how you want to convey your message, and what type of words will appeal to your audience.
Once you have an idea of what the final version will look like, it's time to start drafting it. The best approach is to start with the most important points and then backtrack to fill in the content. Once you're done, share it with your team and ask for their feedback. Remember that it is always beneficial to get feedback from other members of your organization.
6. Finalize and adopt
The final step is to determine whether the mission statement truly reflects your core values. Then, formalize it and ensure that it becomes a part of the business culture within your organization. This includes writing it down, incorporating it into your company's strategy documents, and "living by the mission statement."
Note that this is a dynamic process. It doesn't mean that once you've finished, you're done. In fact, the role of a mission statement is to guide your company over time and act as a compass for its future. Constant review is necessary to ensure that the mission statement is relevant and reflects your business goals.
5 examples of strong mission statements
Now that you know the main steps to building a solid mission statement, it's time to get acquainted with some inspiring examples that showcase simple and effective action-based statements. Following are 5 great mission statement examples that widely resonate with their audience and include the key elements to consider for yourself.
1. LinkedIn - "connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful."
LinkedIn's inspiring mission statement clearly describes the goals of the platform and what it offers to people. This motivates people and encourages them to join the platform and make the most of the benefits. It's simple and cohesive and explains the mission of the company through an appealing vision statement.
2. PayPal - "To build the web's most convenient, secure, cost-effective payment solution."
PayPal's current mission statement is concise and straightforward; it highlights the benefits of using PayPal while also conveying a clear vision and purpose. The commas are used well to separate the elements of the mission statement, making it easy to read and comprehend.
3. Google - "To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
Google's mission statement defines it's overall goal in a simple yet effective way. The emphasis on "universally accessible" and "useful" highlights the value of Google for its users. This mission statement is simple and direct, as it expresses the core goals of Google in a concise manner.
4. Nike - "Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world."
Nike's statement effectively captures the essence of the company in a simple way. The word "athlete" plays an important role in emphasizing the value and relevance of Nike's products and services. This mission statement is simple, effective, and inspiring; it has set the tone for Nike's success and helped it become a part of everyday life. It has also inspired the world's top athletes to take up Nike products and services and worked towards establishing the brand as one of the best in the world.
5. Tesla - "To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy."
Tesla has set its goals high by introducing a new mission statement that promotes the concept of sustainable and clean energy. The bold mission of Tesla clearly describes the long-term goal of the company and its objectives. It reflects the brand's desire to work towards making the world a cleaner and greener place by using technology that’s environment friendly.
The above examples of mission statements prove that they should not be complex and long. In fact, you can capture your mission in a single sentence, making it powerful, and comprehensive. As a result, it will guide your company's future, follow your company's changing needs, and be relevant over time.
5 common mistakes in company mission statements
If you were to go through each of the above mission statements, you would notice that they are all different.
There are some shared words and ideas, but they each have their own unique twist. While some reflect the brand's ideals and aspirations, others focus on a clear goal or purpose. Regardless of their differences, they all share similar attributes that help to make an inspiring mission statement. Here are 5 common mistakes to look out for:
1. Lack of Clarity:
You need to clearly state your company's goal in the mission statement. Every word in your mission statement should support that specific goal. Companies often make the mistake of failing to state their goals and providing vague and confusing information. The goal should be well-defined and clear.
Another common mistake made by companies is overloading their mission statement with too much jargon, making it difficult for the audience to make sense of it. As a result, the mission statement becomes complicated, less effective, and loses its charm. Keep in mind the balance between having too little information and having too much.
The statement should be specific and concise in order to convey the brand's strengths and goals accurately. When companies use general words, concepts, or ideas, it lacks creativity and fails to differentiate your company from others. State your mission in a memorable way for customers and employees.
4. Lack of Creativity:
There's no point in having a mission statement if it fails to make an impact on your audience. Remember that it should be unique, catchy, and appeal to the target audience. When companies fail to put their creative thinking and come up with boring versions copied from other organizations, they fail to inspire their audience.
5. No Revisions:
When the statement is not updated frequently, it loses its relevance and attraction. The vision and mission change from time to time, which means that companies need to review their mission statements regularly and adjust them to suit the direction of the organization. It is essential to understand the dynamics of your business, the changing market, and developing consumer needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the benefits of using a mission statement?
Perhaps the biggest benefit of implementing a mission statement is to provide your company with objectives, purpose, and identity. It serves as a guide in creating plans and works on visual identification, as it is often displayed in your company's logo and advertisements.
Q. How do you identify your company's mission?
Your company's vision and mission should be aligned with the core values of your business. In order to identify the core values, you will need to evaluate your business goals and strategies, as well as your market environment. A successful company must have a clear purpose and an in-depth understanding of what drives its success.
Q. Who should write the mission statement?
Usually, the person who is responsible for your company's vision is best suited for this task. This may be the Founder, CEO, CFO, or other top-level managers. It is also a good idea to involve employees in the drafting process, as a mission statement can provide them with an increased sense of purpose and enhance employee morale.
Q. How much time should you allocate for the mission statement?
This process is characterized by complex thoughts and creative ideas, so it requires considerable effort. In fact, it may take several weeks or even months to write an effective mission statement. As such, you may need to dedicate some time from your schedule.
Q. How often should your mission statement be updated?
As the business environment changes regularly, so do your company's goals and strategies and its vision for the future. Such changes need to be incorporated. It should be frequently reviewed in order to ensure it remains relevant and up-to-date.
A mission statement guides your business and provides the framework for your vision and strategies. It is usually written by the senior managers or CEOs of a company and aims to bring together an organization's purpose, culture, vision, and values. Thus, the process should be well planned and include thorough research and evaluation.