Is Your Mission Statement Missing a Mission?

A mission statement should clearly communicate the reason your team works together. If it doesn’t, it’s just a statement without a mission and you should stop using it.

Most mission statements, unfortunately, are a waste of time and energy. The overwhelming majority are devoid of personality or corporate strengths, and completely ignore the unique reasons a company is in business. It’s just a flat document; a collection of platitudes that only begin to hint at the personality of the team who crafted it. Furthermore, clients and customers are seldom acknowledged, which is a sad commentary about where they are valued as source of revenue.

Not only are many mission statements weak, it is difficult to even have a shared understanding of what a mission statement should be. There is collective confusion on what separates a mission statement from a vision statement or even corporate values. Keep it simple for now; a mission statement, at the very least, should be an honest expression of why your company exists.

An authentic mission statement defines how you impact the lives of your clients and customers, who you should be recruiting to join the company, and the common goal your entire team works towards. Well-crafted mission statements move the company’s audience to a better understanding of what motivates the leadership and employees. At a minimum, a mission statement should clearly answer to the corporate question “Why?”

Writing a mission statement takes thoughtful and careful work. In order for it to be an authentic expression of your company values, a few of the people in the room need to understand why they come to work every day. That self-awareness in itself can be hard to come by. But when personal motivation aligns with the corporate mission, a simple statement turns into a rally cry that moves the team into action and helps ensure that your organization meets your aspirational corporate goals. Name what motivates you to let it move you forward.

The good news is that if your company already has a mission statement, you’re no longer working off of a blank slate. You have a framework to build a new, stronger mission. Review it with fresh eyes and search for the reason your company is in business. If you can’t easily find it, your mission statement needs more definition. It should be uniquely tailored to your company, reflecting you corporate culture and your unique position in the marketplace. Your weakest competitor — or the hair salon down the street — should not be able to claim your mission statement as their own. If it it is too generic, keep at it until it becomes unique to your company.

Get to work on creating an authentic mission statement by answering these questions:

  • Why does your company exist?
  • Who do you serve?
  • What impact does your company leave clients?
  • What projects brought your company the most satisfaction?
  • How can you bring more meaning into the work you do?

Name it and claim it. Harness the opportunity that comes with clarity on the reason you are in business.