How to Write a Mission Statement

Hi, my name is Erica Olsen. Today’s Whiteboard session is on how to write
a mission statement. Mission statements are foundational to any
strategic plan. You normally build one after you developed
your SWOT and before you go into the rest of your planning process. It’s foundational because it answers the question
“Why do we exist?” It clearly explains the space that we play
and what’s in, and what’s out of what we do. And it’s not where we’re going, which is vision. So let’s break it down. We use this example to explain the components
of a mission statement. We use this checklist to talk about what makes
a good mission statement, and we’ll walk through a simple process to create yours. So let’s jump in. The example we have up here is Google’s and
we love using Google’s examples because they’re great and why not borrow from the best? So starting with our mission… I like to start it with our mission because
it gives us a place to go and keeps us thinking about mission. You might get rid of it later, but start it
there. It has a verb with present tense “to organize.” We explain what we do, “Organize the world’s
information.” For whom? In this case, “The world.” And what’s the benefit to us existing? What’s the benefit to the world? “To make information universally accessible
and useful.” Really straightforward. We know mission statements are not that easy
to write, so here’s a checklist to make sure that yours is great. Starting with, it needs to be original. This is really clearly original to Google. They didn’t rip it off from somebody else. It doesn’t sound like anybody else’s mission
statement. It sounds like Google’s mission statement. So make sure yours is original. It’s foundational. I already mentioned that, but you don’t want
to change it all the time. Maybe a few word tweaks, but ideally not. You want a mission statement that sustains
over time. So it needs to be foundational. Connect with staff. A great mission statement…and you know yours
is great when every single staff member wakes up in the morning and knows that their purpose
and the reason they come to work every day is expressed in the mission statement. And to do that, it needs to be memorable. Memorable means short and concise. And of course that’s the balance to strike
with a great mission statement. So here’s your litmus test. It needs to fill on a T-shirt and your staff
will wear it. Achieve those two goals, you know you’ve got
a great mission statement. So how do you write one? Sometimes it can be hard. So it’s great to get input or ideas from your
organization. So gather staff input, if you like, be it
survey or maybe focus groups, take all that information, synthesize it down and create
a couple of versions. You can do it yourself or use one of those
folks in your organization who loves to copy-write and have them write a couple of different
versions. Take those versions and either have your planning
team pick one or put them out to your organization and have people vote on them. So that simple process will help you not go
in all kinds of different directions and spend forever doing mission statement development. With that, I hope this helps you write yours. Thanks for tuning in. Happy strategizing.

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