Developing a Mission Statement

  WHAT

An organization’s mission statement defines its purpose for existing, answering the “what”, “who”, and “how” of your organization’s purpose. A mission statement not only describes your purpose to outsiders, but serves as a guide internally for your strategy and inspires change and progress.

Our ‘Developing a Mission Statement’ model allows you to:

1) Describe your fundamental purpose, i.e., answer the question “What do we do?”
2) Identify your target clients/customers: “Who are we doing it for?”
3) Establish what value you provide to your clients/customers: “What value do we bring?”
4) Describe how you deliver your biggest value to clients/customers: “How do we do it?”

  WHO

Developing a Mission Statement is intended for use by the organization’s upper management and leaders.

  WHY

A mission statement not only defines an organization’s timeless purpose for existing, but also serves as guide in times of uncertainty or vagueness (Tharp, 2007). Furthermore, mission statements have been found to improve financial performance when commitment and alignment to the mission are high among employees (Bart, Bontis, & Taggar, 2001).

To build a solid foundation for a successful organization, it is essential to have a clear and concise mission statement that tells others who you are and why you exist (OnStrategy, n.d.). The mission statement serves as a guide for day-to-day operations and as the foundation for future organizational decision-making (OnStrategy, n.d.), allowing your organization to develop a clarity and understanding as to which strategies should be (or are being) pursued and why. Missions serve as a “guiding star on the horizon” that inspire and stimulate organizational change and progress (Collins & Porras, 1996).

  HOW

1) Describe your fundamental purpose, i.e., answer the question “What do we do?”

Noodle: What is your organization’s fundamental purpose?

Tag each idea identifying if it refers to “Historically”, “Currently”, or “In the future”.

Combine to eliminate duplicate or similar ideas.

Vote: Validate all the ideas you agree reflect your organization’s purpose.

Rate how well each idea represents your organization’s fundamental purpose:

  • 4 = Represents it perfectly
  • 3 = Represents it very well
  • 2 = Represents it moderately well
  • 1 = Represents it a bit
  • 0 = Does not represent it at all


2) Identify your target clients/customers; “Who are we doing it for?”

Noodle: Who is your target client/customer?

Tag each idea as “Historically”, “Currently”, or “In the future”.

Combine to eliminate duplicate or similar ideas.

Vote: Validate all the ideas you agree accurately reflect your target clients/customers.

Rate how well each idea represents your target clients/customers.

 

3) Establish what value you provide to your clients/customers; “What value do we bring?”

Noodle: What value do you provide to your clients/customers?

Tag each idea as “Historically”, “Currently”, or “In the future”.

Combine to eliminate duplicate or similar ideas.

Vote: Validate all the ideas you agree accurately reflect the value you provide.

Rate each idea on its level of value to clients/customers.

  • 4 = Exceptional value
  • 3 = High Value
  • 2 = Moderate value
  • 1 = Some value
  • 0 = No value

 

4) Describe how you deliver your biggest value to clients/customers; “How do we do it?”

Noodle: How do you deliver your biggest value to clients/customers?

Tag each idea as “Historically”, “Currently”, or “In the future”.

Combine to eliminate duplicate or similar ideas.

Vote: Validate all the ideas you agree accurately reflect how you deliver your value.

Rate how well each idea represents how you deliver your value.

 

5) Craft final mission statements using the top-rated results from the previous activities.

6) Rate to what degree you support each of the statements as your company’s official mission statement.

  RESULTS

  • Comprehensive understanding of your company’s purpose, target clients, and value delivered
  • Candid discussion and ratings on each of the elements of your mission
  • Consensus and support for the organization’s mission statement

  BENEFITS & IMPACT

This model will enable:

Quality  Develop a mission statement that is formulated, fully understood, and supported by the entire organization.

Efficiency – Allow stakeholder input and discussion from start to finish, preventing you from repeatedly going back to the drawing board on mission statements.

Engagement – Involve all stakeholders – regardless of location or personality type – in developing your clear, effective statement of purpose.

Agility – Ignite change and progress within your organization according to your defined purpose. 

  RELATED MODELS

  REFERENCES

Bart, C. K., Bontis, N., & Taggar, S. (2001). A model of the impact of mission statements on firm performance. Management Decision, 39(1), 19–35.

Collins, J. & Porras, J. I. (1996). Building your company’s vision. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/1996/09/building-your-companys-vision

OnStrategy. (n.d.). Phase 2: Developing Strategy. https://onstrategyhq.com/resources/developing-your-strategy/

Tharp, J. (2007). Align project management with organizational strategy. Paper presented at PMI® Global Congress 2007—EMEA, Budapest, Hungary. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.