5 Tips for Writing a Powerful Mission Statement
Today’s young companies move fast; you probably see this firsthand every day at work. Often, we move so fast that it becomes easy to lose sight of what matters to us, what we are trying to accomplish, what we stand for, or even who we are. Mission statements are developed by organizations in order to set clear goals, maintain focus on what matters most, and consistently work towards becoming the best they can be. Especially in today’s fast-moving world, mission statements can help keep an entire team unified around a singular goal.
Here are a few great examples of mission statements we've found:
Patagonia "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis."
Google "To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
Coca-Cola "To refresh the world; to inspire moments of optimism and happiness; to create value and make a difference."
Here are a few helpful tips for creating your own mission statement.
- Get all the ideas out there: Write down everything your company does and all it stands for. Your first draft will not be poetic or precise. It’s helpful to get everything on paper (or whiteboard/Word doc) first before moving on to the next step. This where you are also defining what it is that makes the team ‘the team’. Identify what your organization is seeking to do for your clients. In short, how is your organization trying to change the world?
- Take a step back and evaluate: Now that you likely have a huge list, it's time to edit and prioritize. Take a look at what you've written down and ask yourself a few questions to start cutting this down to three key parts:
- Distill to a single sentence: You’ll notice the best mission statements are short and concise. Keeping a mission statement short is key to helping employees stay focused. This will likely be the hardest step, so grab some coffee. This will take several, or more than several, tries, and narrowing it down will involve input from others. Which leads us to the next point...
- Get executive buy-in: Obviously, you are going to need some buy-in from the top. Seek the executive team’s participation and feedback through the entire process.
- Know the mission statement can evolve (but only slowly): Wait to reveal the mission statement until everyone on the executive team is in agreement. Polish that statement so it will stand the test of time. It’s hard to remember a mission statement that keeps changing, so make sure you get it right and stick to it. As your company evolves and matures over time, you should refresh the mission statement to reflect this evolution.
Now get out there, discover your mission, and let it lead you to bigger and better things.