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How to Write a Mission Statement

How to Write a Mission Statement

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Forming a mission statement forces you to question yourself and the company, and formulate a vision of what your business is or will become. It whittles an organization's purpose down to its very essence, its heart and soul.

Steps

  1. Brainstorm. Ask every member of the organization to answer the following questions, listing any words, phrases or ideas that come to mind without criticizing or commenting at this level:[1]
    • What are the opportunities or needs that we exist to address? - This defines the purpose of the organization.
    • What are we doing to address those needs? - This defines the business activity.
    • What principles or beliefs guide our work? - This defines the core values to guide decisions.
  2. Consolidate. Look for patterns in their answers. Don't edit, just study and observe. You want to pick out phrases and words that speak to many different people in the organization, and figure out when people are saying the same thing in different ways (e.g. “finding creative solutions”, "being innovative”, “thinking outside the box” are all similar ways to say the same thing) and begin to think about ultimately choosing one such expression. [2]
  3. Set aside several hours or a full day to work on the statement. Get the people together who'll be working on it with you, and make sure that they can commit to the purpose of the meeting. Bring refreshments, notes from the previous steps, paper and pencils. You might need to explain to them what a mission statement is, and why it's important. You may also need to remind them that a mission statement is built through collaboration and consensus, and it hinges on everyone being as happy with it as possible, not just gaining the leader's approval.[3]
  4. Pull it together. One way to approach a mission statement is by filling in the blanks: The mission of (Organization Name) is to (verb) the (population served) of (location) through (core services).[4]
    • Remember that a mission statement should be timeless; it should be just as applicable 5 years from now as it is today.
    • Write up several possible statements and then combine them by using elements out of them to allow different people and groups to feel involved.
    • The mission statement includes an introductory clause and clear expressions of the services, different products or aspects of the company or organization.
    • Mission statements often seem impossible to achieve. Create something that is possible, but not too easy or too idealist.
    • Avoid a generic mission statement that any business could have, such as, "To put the customer first and provide an excellent service". Which company doesn't intend to put the customer first and provide an excellent service?
  5. Polish it up. You'll probably go through several drafts, but eventually, what you want is a statement that's short and engaging enough that anyone connected to the organization feels comfortable repeating it. Consider the following examples:
    • Dell: "Dell's mission is to be the most successful computer company in the world at delivering the best customer experience in markets we serve."[5]
    • March of Dimes: "Our mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. We carry out this mission through research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies' lives. March of Dimes researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers and advocates work together to give all babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health: prematurity, birth defects, low birthweight."[6]
    • Canon Photocopiers around 2000 had the direct but effective internal mission statement of "Kill Xerox" which summed up in two words the whole reason why they(Canon photocopiers) were in that business.
  6. Spread the word. Distribute copies of the mission statement. Put it in clear view of both customers and employees. Add it to your website and brochures. Whenever you have a meeting to review how the organization is doing, use your mission statement as one measuring stick. Ask yourself: How well are we living up to our mission?

Video

Tips

  • Everyone involved with your organization should have some opportunity to make an input into the mission statement.
  • Look at other companies for inspiration but beware of copying – the statement should be about your company, not someone else's
  • Make sure you believe in your own statement. If you do not, your colleagues and customers will soon pick up on that.
  • A school, church, nonprofit organization or foundation needs a clear and effective mission statement as much as the more commercial enterprise.

Warnings

  • Try not to state the obvious or boast about how great your company is.
  • Be sure that the statement is not limiting or too expansive in what it portrays. It should be realistic but instill a sense of purpose while having a leading edge toward tomorrow's vision.
  • Do not become stagnant like buggy and whip companies that went bankrupt having failed to adjust to steady and rapid change--not incorporating the new opportunities provided by horseless carriages to flow into a new purpose, vision and mission.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. http://www.tgci.com/magazine/How%20to%20Write%20a%20Mission%20Statement.pdf
  2. http://nonprofitmanagement.suite101.com/article.cfm/writing_a_mission_statement
  3. http://www.entrepreneur.com/management/leadership/businessstrategies/article65230.html
  4. http://nonprofitmanagement.suite101.com/article.cfm/writing_a_mission_statement
  5. http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/corp/investor/en/faqs?c=us&l=en&s=corp#faq8
  6. http://www.marchofdimes.com/aboutus/787.asp

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Write a Mission Statement. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.








    

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