Everyone can rally around a purpose, but first they have to believe in it. Understanding the why provides people with the information they need to make a decision about whether they want to get on board. This is where mission statements come in.
Mission statements are critical to have for companies to provide clarity, direction and focus for employees. They are also instrumental in explaining what your company does and its position in the market. These are something internal employees can rally around, as well as something customers can get on board with.
In this article, you will learn what a mission statement is, why it’s important, and how you can write an effective one.
Before we dive into the value mission statements provide and why they exist, let’s take a moment to review the difference between vision and mission statements. These two terms are often thrown around interchangeably, but are very different from one another.
Let’s start with vision statements, think of them as the company’s guiding light. Vision statements are typically about a sentence in length and describe at a high level where and who the company would like to be. They are forward looking statements that are also both lofty and aspirational.
Vision statements describe the future of the organization. Some examples of strong vision statements include:
As you can see, those are not small goals, nor are they prescriptive. The vision is what continues to inspire the organization into the future.
On the other hand, a mission statement is a simple statement that outlines the company’s purpose, values, and goals as it exists today. It takes into account the customers or market you serve, why your products and services exist, as well as what values or principles the company upholds. Mission statements answer the questions, “Why does this organization exist?” “Who do we serve?” and “What impact is this organization trying to make?”
A few great examples of mission statements include:
So, as you can see, mission statements are more tactical than vision statements. However, both are important and necessary in an organization. Both feed off of eachother and act as an anchor for your brand and how your customers see you, but also as inspiration for your employees. Mission statements in particular act as pillars for your company to align with as the company, client base and product offerings grow.
A mission statement should take into account the company’s purpose, target customer base, values, and goals. Mission statements should be strong and have the following characteristics:
A significant amount of data points towards mission driven organizations having an easier time attracting talent, retaining employees, and overall improved employee engagement. According to research conducted by Imperative, “Purpose-oriented employees are 54 percent more likely to stay at a company for more than five years and 30 percent more likely to be high performers than those who work for a paycheck.”
Why is that? Think about it, especially if you’re in product management, you’re constantly challenged to explain the why to the business and development teams. This is no different with a mission statement.
A mission statement describes purpose, why the company exists, its goals and who it wants to be. This creates an emotional connection and clear purpose that employees (and customers) can relate to and get behind. It generates excitement and inspiration which in turn results in more motivated, productive employees.
Mission statements also are subject to change. Once a mission statement is set, that doesn’t mean it’s forever. As the world and company changes, mission (and vision) statements should be revisited every several years to make sure they’re still accurate to who the company wants to be.
If you do a quick Google search on mission statements you’ll quickly find there are multiple ways to approach writing one. While there’s no exact science in crafting the perfect mission statement for every business, the outlines provided are meant to help you in thinking through what makes most sense for your company and what will ultimately help you in creating your mission statement.
Below is an example of the questions (and answers) you can use to build a mission statement.
For the purpose of this example, let’s use a fake online fitness company called FitRX and build out our mission:
Okay, now that we have those answers, let’s begin to put it into our mission statement, which could look something like this:
Our mission is to inspire, educate and motivate our customers to live fuller lives one healthy activity at a time.
Now it’s your turn! Grab some paper and start jotting down the answers to these questions:
Once you have answered the questions above, you can begin to tease out pieces that are unique to your company and build your mission statement.
Mission statements provide clarity on a company’s goals and position in the market for its employees, customers, and competition. They are inspirational, focused, and create excitement.
Mission statements help organizations and their employees stay emotionally connected and purpose driven. Having a well crafted, empowering mission statement and communicating that message out regularly does a world of good for an organization and its people.
Featured image source: IconScout
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