Creating an effective Mission Statement
What is a Mission Statement and why is this so important to include in your business plan?
A mission statement may look simple but it should communicate the core of your organization with a precise statement of purpose. Words should be chosen for meaning and clarity - not technical jargon.
How to develop a Mission Statement
The Mission statement should be about three sentences long and touches upon these key points.
- Who we are
- What we do
- What we stand for
- Why we do it
A Mission Statement should become a high-level, inspiring statement of the purpose of the organization, it’s responsibilities as an organization, and the purpose behind its existence. It should also satisfy or address four groups:
Although a Mission Statement should be developed in the early phase of an organization, it should also set the stage for long-term development, growth of the organization, and eventually how you want to be remembered.
Almost every company has one, but fewer have employees that know what the company’s mission actually is. It is important to implement this throughout the organization in order for employees to have clear guidelines. According to Chris Bart, professor of Strategic Market Leadership at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, "Mission Statements can be one of the most despised management tools if implemented ineffectively." Companies that effectively use mission statements need to convey this in their decisions; for example, if a mission statement focuses on innovation, then the research and development budget should not be cut.
Why is a Mission Statement so important?
In Profiles of Excellence, the Independent Sector lists a clear mission statement "first" in the four primary characteristics of successful organizations. Mission statements are one of the top 10 management tools used globally, according to the 2005 Management Tools and Trends
survey by the Consultant Agency Bain & Company.
Professor Chris Bart emphasizes Mission Statements so strongly that in a survey of 500 companies, 78 percent mentioned "customers" in their mission statements, while 54 percent mentioned "employees" - companies need to identify and satisfy both of their needs.
Good corporate mission statements can also produce tangible benefits in the form of increased return on investment, greater sales and more profit.
Consider the incident with the tanker Exxon Valdez massive oil spill - the Mission Statement at that time was "to provide our shareholders with a superior return on investment" says Professor Bart. If the statement would have contained an element of social/environmental responsibility, they may have made a more responsible trip.
Another example, Southwest Airlines has empowered its employees with a Mission Statement that references "a dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride and company spirit." While other airlines suffered financially after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, one could credit the Mission Statement of Southwest Airlines to help keep their employees focused.
There is no magic formula for finding the wording that best expresses the intention of your organization. It can be drafted by one person or a mission writing group and in general include a clear purpose statement, business statement and values of the organization,
Once the Mission Statement has been developed, it is critically important to be adopted by the organization, its employees, and stakeholders. The existence and growth of the company could depend on it.
In addition to all the great resources available on www.brs-inc.com for your business planning and business strategy needs, please review the websites below for more information regarding "Mission Statements."
The Leader to Leader Institute established by Peter Drucker. The Drucker Self-Assessment Tool: Content-How to develop a mission statement.
Basics of Developing Mission, Vision and Values Statements
Build a Strategic Framework: Mission Statement, Vision, Values