Creating Your Organization’s Mission Statement

Creating Your Organization’s Mission Statement September 25, 2013

Right Focus Part 1

The first part of the Right Focus Leadership Development Program is creating your organization mission statement.  For the purposes of this blog post, we will use the term organization to refer to any group of people you lead to achieve a common goal.  Whether it’s a team of 2 or 60, a department, company, restaurant, school, non-profit – doesn’t really matter. Regardless of the type of organization you lead, having a clear and compelling mission that answers the question, “What are we here to do?” is essential to achieving extraordinary results.

Your challenge is to create a mission that is big enough, important enough, and inspiring enough to unite the people on your team or in your organization.  It should be broad enough and yet inclusive enough so that each person can feel they are contributing to something significant and larger than themselves.

It should clearly answer the question “What essential need or want do we fulfill?”  Think about it, can you name one successful company or organization that doesn’t do something that someone somewhere needs or wants? In short, an organization’s mission is a touchstone that reminds everyone what’s really important and what your customers need and want.

What Makes a Great Organization Mission Statement

Great mission statements are short and memorable. They communicate in just a few words the organization’s focus and why it exists. When an important decision needs to be made, the mission serves as a guide. Mission statements are not about money. Every business needs to make money; however financial goals should be just that, a goal in a comprehensive plan, not to be confused with a broader, inspiring mission.

Consider the following real life mission statements, and notice how they have the ability to engage people to do more than just collect a paycheck:

  • “We help people achieve their goals, advance their careers, and enrich their lives through education.” (RedVector, an elearning company)
  • “To improve quality of life through compassionate healthcare.” (Surgery Partners, Inc.)
  • “To help our clients achieve economic success and financial security.” (BB&T Banks)
  • We help you deliver solutions that propel growth and innovation.” (Circuit City IT Team)
  • “To prevent blindness and preserve sight.” (Prevent Blindness America)

The Importance of Involving People in Developing Your Mission

When developing a mission statement for your organization, it is critical to involve the key people whose support you count on to achieve the mission.  In smaller organizations and teams this may mean including everyone. In larger organizations, it may mean involving a cross section of stakeholders that represent the company’s diversity.  The more key people you involve and listen to in the mission development process, the more synergy, buy-in and passion you will have directed toward living it.

Don’t underestimate the power of creating buy-in across your organization.  Without it a mission statement is just a sign on a wall.  Without buy-in, people aren’t inspired or connected to the mission and you miss out on a great opportunity to get that something “above and beyond” that people bring to their work when they are inspired. When you involve people in the process, you are more likely to engage their minds, hearts and spirits sooner.

Does your organization have a mission?  The following exercise will help you create your organization mission.  Don’t try to be perfect. Just write what comes to mind! If you need assistance creating a personal mission please visit our recent blog post.

Right Focus Part 1 – Creating Your Organization Mission Statement

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