A mission statement is a brief description of an organization’s reason for existence. It succinctly outlines your company’s values and vision, communicating your purpose and direction to employees, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders.
This guide will explain the purpose and importance of a clear and concise mission statement, including tips for creating a mission statement of your own.
What is a mission statement?
A mission statement outlines the motivations of the organization, primarily for employees and internal stakeholders, although mission statements may be public-facing as well. The organization’s strategic objectives, strategic plan, and business goals should always be aligned with the mission statement, which serves as the organization’s North Star.
What is the purpose of a mission statement?
The goal of a mission statement is to describe, in a sentence or two, what makes your organization distinct and different from its competitors. Essentially, a mission statement should accurately define your organization’s guiding principles and unite employees around a common purpose.
Why are mission statements important?
Mission statements are important for several reasons. As touched on earlier, mission statements give a deeper insight to customers and employees about your organization’s foundation and values. A mission statement explains the essence and underlying philosophies of your company to outsiders.
The benefits of strong mission statements include the following:
- Companies with mission statements have higher worker engagement.
- Clear mission statements build trust with employees and the communities they work with.
- Organizations with mission statements tend to have a more positive work environment.
- Mission statements help the company develop and move forward since they act as a road map.
Whom should the mission statement address?
A company’s mission statement should address both employees and customers.
Employees with a mission-driven purpose are more likely to believe in what they do, resulting in higher loyalty, greater productivity levels, and a better work experience overall. Ultimately, mission-driven employees can help save a company money because of higher retention rates. Mission-driven employees are 54% more likely to stay for five years at their company.
By creating a brand with a cultural mission, you lay the foundation for a positive environment for your employees and customers. When employees believe their work matters, and they’re happy with their jobs, they produce better products and services.
By addressing customers in your mission statement, you keep them at the forefront of everything you do. And those who are curious enough about what you stand for will appreciate being able to read a succinct statement describing your ultimate purpose.
Elements of a good mission statement and what to avoid.
Now that you understand the benefits of a company mission statement, you may wonder what you can do to build one of your own. Your company’s mission statement should go beyond your company’s short-term objectives and be broad enough to grow into. Every word in your organization’s mission statement should be intentional and well-thought-out.
To be effective, a mission statement should:
- Be brief and memorable
- Use vibrant, active language
- Define your reason for being
- Align with your brand promise and values
- Inspire and motivate your team
- Resonate with leaders, employees (current and future), and customers
- Avoid jargon and corporate-speak
Are vision statements and mission statements the same thing?
Even though they are easily confused, vision statements and mission statements are not the same thing. While a mission statement clearly defines the organization’s current purpose and reason for being, a vision statement focuses on the future, describing what the organization desires to become one day.
Questions to ask yourself when creating a mission statement.
Some mission statements are to the point, while others speak more broadly. Either way, you should consider a few essential questions as you craft the right mission statement for you. Ask yourself:
- Why do we do what we do?
- What needs are we fulfilling?
- Why are we in this industry?
- Why did we (or the founders) start this company or organization?
- What image do we want to portray?
- How do we serve our customers or clients?
- What would be lost if this organization did not exist?
- Why would anyone dedicate their time and energy to this organization?
Mission statement examples.
You’ve probably seen or heard a company’s mission statement without identifying it as such. Keep in mind that a good mission statement speaks to prospective customers as well as internal staff. Reading successful mission statements can help you to form your own.
Here are some examples of mission statements:
- JetBlue: “To inspire humanity—both in the air and on the ground.”
- Tesla: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
- TED: “Spread ideas.”
- Honest Tea: “To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.”
- American Express: “Become essential to our customers by providing differentiated products and services to help them achieve their aspirations.”
Create an impactful mission statement.
Although a mission statement provides a great foundation for your strategic planning, it’s important to remember that you can change it in the future. Adapting to change and to shifting market forces over time can eventually necessitate a complete rewrite of the mission statement to ensure that it continues to represent your evolving company. You might consider asking your employees how the mission statement impacts them and if they feel it aligns with their values. From there, you can gauge if your ideas for a mission statement accurately depict your company and the individuals who make it up.