Written by Scot Chisholm
| November 03, 2023
The reality is that most employees can’t remember their company’s mission statement. This doesn’t mean that the idea behind a mission statement is flawed – far from it. But it does mean that most people get them wrong… dead wrong. ☠️
In this post, we’re going to dive into what makes a great mission statement and why it’s imperative to get it right. We’ve also included 50 examples of awesome mission statements as a source of inspiration.
Ready? Here we go…
A mission statement is an organization’s reason for being – its purpose. It answers the question, “Why do we exist?”. If you fast-forward the clock 100 years, it would be unchanged and still relevant.
Your mission statement should be able to finish this sentence:
We exist to [your mission statement].
Here’s an example from Airbnb:
We exist to [help create a world where you can belong anywhere].
Think of this statement as Airbnb’s “north star.” It’s the ‘why’ behind what they do as a team and company. All activities across the entire organization should align with their mission. If it doesn’t, then something’s off (either the mission or the activities of the organization). Alignment between mission and daily activities is absolutely essential for forward progress and long-term success.
These two are often confused, so it’s worth spending a second on it.
If your mission statement answers the question, “Why do we exist?” then your vision answers the question, “Where are we going?”
Mission statements are directional, but they’re never fully achieved.
The company’s vision, on the other hand, provides clear direction toward a desired outcome. It describes where you want to be in 3, 5, 10, or even 20 years into the future.
And it’s always in full alignment with the mission statement. The mission is the north star, and the vision is the points along the way.
If you want to learn more about creating a company vision, I wrote about it here.
Now that you have a better understanding of what a mission statement is and why it’s crucial for your business, I’m going to show you how to write a great one in two simple steps.
When you’re creating a mission statement, you can think of it like a formula.
Mission statement = Benefit + Delivery
When you combine both benefit and delivery, you get a single sentence that explains why you exist as an organization.
Take Google, for example…
Google has a ton of products and services, yet they only need 12 words to drive home their mission. One impactful sentence that explains why they exist as an organization.
Your mission statement should be memorable, repeatable, and inspirational. So, we want to eliminate anything that comes off as vague, wordy, or too corporate.
Think: T-shirt worthy.
It’s badass enough to put on the front of a t-shirt.
To bring this point home, here are three examples of what NOT to do:
To make a positive impact in the world.
This is an admirable goal, but it’s way too vague and tells us nothing about how they plan to deliver this benefit.
To be the #1 company in our market.
This one is more of a vision than a mission statement. It’s missing the benefit piece of the equation, so it lacks inspiration and would make a really lame t-shirt. It’s also missing the delivery piece (the “how”).
“To create a shopping experience that pleases our customers; a workplace that creates opportunities and a great working environment for our associates; and a business that achieves financial success.”
Man, where to even start with this one? First off, it’s way too long. No one will ever remember this rambling sentence. And it is certainly not t-shirt worthy.
Now, to check in with our formula: The benefit is pretty weak and limiting (“pleases our customers” and “great working environment”). And this mission mixes a customer-facing delivery (“creating a shopping experience”) with an employee-facing delivery (“a great working environment”).
Overall, it’s way too complex for anyone to remember or care about.
P.S. This one is the food store chain, Albertson’s mission statement 🤯
Hopefully by now you can see that creating a rock solid mission statement is absolutely doable if you follow these two steps:
If you already have a mission statement, that’s ok. Take this information to stress test what you already have. It’s never a bad idea to refine and allow your mission statement to mature with your company.
Still need a little inspiration to get started?
I’ve collected a ton of kickass mission statements from top brands across many industries to help get you started!
November 10, 2023 | Uncategorized
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