Insights- A business on a mission – the importance of a mission statement.
All businesses should have a strategic plan which outlines how they intend to succeed in business.
A key part of a business strategy is understanding the purpose of the business or the why- this is called the mission- and will help to formulate the remainder of the plan.
An organisation should not just exist to make money (although that is an important part of business as well), it should have a bigger reason for being or a just cause – the reason you get up and go to work every day and what really matters to the business.
Lisa MacCallum’s Inspired Inc states that a mission should
- Be a big idea
- Have many winners
- Be focused on real people and needs
- Reflect your company’s unique spirit
- Have longevity
- Be narcisitic ie we want to be no. 1
- Be narrow in terms of business competency ie you don’t want it to limit what you do or how you operate
- Be based on basic expectations – ie it should be the ceiling not the floor – ie we promise to behave ethically.
- Say too much – don’t need to incorporate everything about the business.
Simon Sinek calls the mission a just cause: “A cause so just that not only do people feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, but they are willing to sacrifice in order to advance that cause,”
It needs to be:
- For something – optimistic and affirmitive
- Idealistic – big, bold and often unachievable
- Inclusive- includes all that would like to be involved
- Resilient – last long term despite cultural, political and technological change.
Some mission statements of well known companies are:
Nike “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world (and if you have a body you are an athlete)”
Disney “To make people happy”
Flight Centre “To open up the world for those who want to see”
Medibank Private “Better health for better lives”
3M “To solved unsolved problems innovately”
To help create your own mission think about:
- What we do and what would we like to do?
- What are we trying to achieve?
- What do we stand for?
- Why are we different?
- How do we want to impact on others?
Once you come up with a mission you should consider its effectiveness using the following checklist:
- Do you find it inspiring?
- Will others be excited by the mission?
- Will it be just as valid 50 years from now?
- Is it focused on real people and their needs
- Are there more winners than just you?
- Are you proud to tell others?
- Does it represent what you stand for and what you are looking to achieve?
It is important to understand that a mission statement should not be confused with marketing slogans or promotional tools, but instead is a statement for internal and external motivation and inspiration to get all stakeholders onboard with the true reason for existence.
Having a mission statement is important as it helps:
- Provide a decision making template
- Shape strategy and align behaviours
- Create identity and direction
- Attract talent and promote culture
- Build community and employee engagement
- Improve performance and evaluation
- Envision the future
Contact Alto if you would like assistance in developing your mission statement or advice on creation of a complete strategic plan for your business.
Author: Donna Bruce