Mission Statements

How to Write a Mission Statement

Wondering how to write a mission statement? Here are five things you should keep in mind when writing a mission statement.

Growing companies recognize the value of a quality mission statement.

But knowing that you need a mission statement and actually creating one are two different stories. Fortunately, creating a mission statement probably isn't as difficult as it seems. Just follow these simple steps and you'll be on your way to an effective mission statement in no time at all.

Step 1: Gather the Team

One of the worst things you can do is to try and create a mission statement by yourself, without the input of other key leaders in your business. As much as possible, try to engage a handful of managers, workers, and maybe even a couple of loyal customers in the conversation.

By the time you're done, you'll have a mission statement that truly represents your business and invested stakeholders scattered throughout the organization.

Step 2: Establish Needs & Opportunities

Every business exists to either meet a need in the marketplace. The first step in creating your mission statement is to determine what need your company exists to address. The best way to do that is to gather the team and start brainstorming.

As the team begins to list the needs the company serves, a theme will probably begin to emerge. That theme is your company's primary purpose, and it should ultimately find its way into the completed mission statement.

Step 3: Determine How You Meet the Needs

Once you've established your organization's primary purpose, the next step is to determine how you go about meeting it. In other words, what does your company actually do to address the needs it exists to meet?

Ask the team to describe - in simple terms - the activities your business engages in on a daily basis. Verbs denote action, and so the key is to focus on a few verbs that accurately summarize the core activities of the company.

Step 4: Discuss Company Values

Values are the final element of an effective mission statement.

Values are typically more difficult to nail down than purpose and activities because they can't be readily observed in the day to day function of the business. Nonetheless, your company's values are a crucial part of the mission statement because they describe what is most important to you and the people you employ.

Again, gather the team and make a list of the various values that emerge from the conversation. Continue to discuss various values until you reach a consensus on the one or two values that are most important.

Step 5: Putting It All Together

You now know the steps need to create a mission statement. But knowing how to write a mission statement is just a start.

The process of creating a mission statement can take days, weeks, or even months. If you rush the process the result will be a mediocre mission statement that inspires no one. As the discussion process winds down, begin to assemble everything you've learned into a single sentence that describes your company's purpose, activities, and values.

Disseminate your first draft to others in the company and make revisions until you are completely confident in a final version.

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  • MAK posted on 5/19/2009
    It would be great to have an example of how a company, real or fictional, went about creating a mission statement. The collected information could be documented and then the final mission statement shared to show how the collected information was transformed into a final mission statement.

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