A Mission Statement is the application of a Vision Statement. It declares the purpose of an organization and how they serve their customers. This sometimes includes a description of the company, what it does, and its objectives. Typically this statement provides perfect clarity behind the ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘why’ of your company. The best mission statements are guidelines a company operates by. Everything a company does should work toward the mission.
What do I need to Write a Quality Mission Statement?
First things first, you shouldn’t read ‘Chapter 2’ until you’ve read ‘Chapter 1’. So head over to the blog Company Vision as a Concept to form a Vision Statement first. You can thank me later.
Start with your Vision (The ‘Why’ answer) and then ask…
- What do you do as a company? Be as general or specific as you’d like.
- Who (or What) does your company serve? Customers, The Packaging Industry, Low-Income Families in Charleston?
- Where do you serve? This is not essential as it could limit you, but if you know that you can only service South Carolina right now, you might say that so you don’t overextend.
Mission Application 1: Start with Leadership
As mentioned in the blog Company Vision as a Concept, it is vital that you start this process with your leadership. They know the company better than anyone, if they are doing things right. So use that knowledge to help formulate the answers to these questions. It could even be done as a questionnaire or interview.
- What challenges does this company solve for others?
- Who would you define as the ‘others’?
- Why did you want to work for this company? Has that changed?
- Who are our customers?
- What do they value?
- What kind of image do we want to convey as a company?
- What’s our company’s purpose?
- What differentiates this company from its competitors?
Not only does starting with leadership make sense to get the most accurate information, it makes sense on an ‘Ownership’ level as well. These leaders will take ownership of something they felt a part of as it was building. A leader who views a project or a company as their ‘baby’ will not complete the tasks half-heartedly nor quit so easily. They will fight for it. It will be something they will find passion in. And they will work to make it a success no matter what.
Mission Application 2: Write it Out
Now comes the fun part, compiling the data. You need to take everything you have heard and compile it into one concise (3-4 sentence) statement of what you are here on this planet to do. A Vision Statement tends to be simple, maybe one sentence or not even one sentence. A Mission Statement should take that concept one step further in its application. Imagine you compiled the data and pruned the answers down to these responses.
- What challenges does this company solve for others? We provide visual aide in the form of glasses.
- Who would you define as the ‘others’? Low-income families.
- What do they value? Compassion. Real help. No Judgement.
- Why did you want to work for this company? Has that changed? Because of its work to help others. I grew up here.
- Who are our customers? Anyone with bad eye sight, but especially those within our direct neighborhood.
- What kind of image do we want to convey as a company? Compassion. Helpful. Non-Judgmental.
- What’s our company’s purpose? To provide visual aide in the form of glasses to Low-income families.
- What differentiates this company from its competitors? Our Helpful Service. Non-Judgmental attitudes. Our genuine care for the people.
I’ll bet just by reading those answers, you could have put together a Mission Statement like this one.
“2C & 2B Seen is here to provide visual aide in the form of glasses to Low-income families and all families within our neighborhood. We seek to do this by providing Helpful Service, utilizing our Genuine Care for the Community and serving with non-judgmental attitudes.”
This is a Mission Statement a company can thrive through, but also one that can mobilize every worker to corral around it. And trust me when I say, if they have a Mission Statement to draw from and managers to enforce these truths, the company will grow. Always!
Mission 3: Apply it to the Everyday
This is the truly difficult part of bringing your Mission Statement into application. And it requires one thing above all of the rest, LEADERSHIP.
It requires a true leader, not just one that your company has given a leadership ‘title’ to. Someone who is given a title, but has not earned it, will be less effective. You need a leader that people actually view as a leader. (At this point, it might be good to reassess your Leadership Structure and find true leaders to put in the appropriate positions in your company.) See the John C. Maxwell ladder of Leadership attached here. And if you haven’t, read his book on this ladder.
Now that you’ve located your ‘true’ leaders, get them on board with the Mission. They will know how to inspire the rest of the Team to do the rest. These leaders are the ones who can inspire their coworkers without the need of corrective actions. They will be able to get everyone on the train towards living out this mission without dragging anyone along. And in the worst case scenario, when a team member chooses not to come along or get on board, they will be equipped to show them why they need to depart from the company with little to no backlash.
Now that you have an application tool for your Mission Statement, it’s time to enact it and get everyone on board the Success Train. All aboard as we chug-a-lug towards a Brighter Tomorrow!
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