“Make your life a mission – not an intermission.” – Arnold H. Glasow
Many people and organizations wander through life with little purpose. The employees, members, leaders, and stakeholders of these organizations flounder. They lack energy. There is division and a lack of alignment.
What do these individuals and organizations need? A clear and engaging mission.
What is a Mission Statement?
A mission statement is the purpose of an organization, department, team, club, or entity. Why do you exist?
How to Create a Mission Statement
Let’s consider a few examples from some very successful companies. Then we will look at the most common components of mission statements.
Mission Statement Examples:
- “Be America’s best quick-service restaurant.” –Chick-fil-a
- “We fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling, by providing to motorcyclists and to the general public an expanding line of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.” –Harley-Davidson, Inc.
- “To provide the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.” –Southwest Airlines
Mission statements typically include three elements:
- Active Verbs
- Whom You Serve
- Active VerbsThe mission statement may have one or more active verbs. Select one to three active, precise verbs that engaging and meaningful. Here are some examples:
- ValuesWhat do you value? What is most important to you and your company? Southwest Airlines values “warmth” and “friendliness”. Chick-fil-a values “the best quick-service restaurant.” Harley-Davidson highlights the “experience of motorcycling.”
- Whom Do You Serve?Great mission statements focus on the customers. Be sure to specify whom you serve. You may specify one or more groups such as:
- Dog owners
- Georgia cooking enthusiasts
- Insurance industry
- Rotary Club
- Hillside Community
How to Evaluate a Mission Statement
- Is the mission clear? Use the KISS principle – Keep It Short and Simple.
- Is the mission winsome and motivating? Clement Stone said, “When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.”
- Does the mission statement highlight your values?
- Does the mission statement specify your customers?
How to Instill the Mission
It is one thing to have a mission statement. It is another thing for an organization to embrace the mission. Many companies have a mission statement on the wall, but the senior leaders rarely, if ever, highlight the mission. How do we get the mission into the hearts of our people?
- Talk about the mission. The leaders must reinforce the mission regularly – in staff meetings, in strategic planning meetings, in the Board Room, in employee meetings, and celebrations, to name of few.
- Focus on alignment. The leaders must continually seek to align the strategies and the activities of the organization with the mission. This habit speaks volumes to the employees.
- Reward employees. Leaders should look for employees that demonstrate behavior supporting the mission and reward it.
Question: What is your favorite mission statement? Why?
Harry Hall, PMP, PMI-RMP, is the Director of Enterprise Risk Management at the Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, one of the largest domestic insurance companies in the state of Georgia. You can read more from Harry on his blog.
Written by By Harry Hall