Walk into the offices of any Fortune 500 company, and you may see a mission statement — words that define the company’s vision, values, and purpose – prominently displayed. It may be in the lobby. It may be in the boardroom. But you more than likely will find one.
Nike’s mission is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” The Coca-Cola Company’s mission is “to refresh the world…to inspire moments of optimism and happiness…to create value and make a difference.” Part of Harley-Davidson’s mission is “to fulfill dreams through the experience of motorcycling.”
Small, closely held businesses are no different. The most successful ones often cheer to a simple statement that adds focus, purpose, and definition to their daily work. Yet some business owners operate either without a mission statement or with a less-than-energetic one. Others experience a shift in focus and may overlook the need to revise their guiding principles.
Show Your Spirit
Your mission statement should be vibrant and inspiring. It should reflect your company’s unique essence, competencies, or culture – and serve as a “chant” for employees and other stakeholders.
It may seem like a tall order to encapsulate your mission in a few words, but doing so is a great exercise in defining your company’s purpose. As you create or refine your mission statement, keep these points in mind:
1. Reconnect with your passion. Your company was started for a reason – whether it was to fill a market void, provide a different product or service, or fulfill a dream. Go back to that initial passion and explore what it means to your current company. Ideally, you’re still in business for that same reason. Make sure your mission statement reflects that passion.
2. Convey where you stand. Your corporate values distinguish you from other businesses, and your mission statement should clearly reflect those values. Chick-fil-A clearly expresses its values in its corporate purpose: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us. To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.
3. Clarify what stakeholders can expect. Most companies have a variety of stakeholders: customers, employees, family members, and so on. Your mission statement should tell them what to expect from you. It should also motivate your employees to meet those expectations. For example, CVS Health conveys a strong promise to “help millions of people on their path to better health.
4. Define the desired result of your organization’s efforts. Challenge yourself to dream big. Online retailer Amazon expresses its desired results grandly yet succinctly: “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.”
5. Express your corporate culture. The key is to create a living, breathing expression of passion and dedication rather than express the stiff and formal language of a “document.” Ever-irreverent and customer-focused, Southwest Airlines says on its corporate website: “We like to think of ourselves as a Customer Service company that happens to fly airplanes (on schedule, with personality and perks along the way).”
Go, Team Family!
Family businesses can certainly benefit from a mission statement. More specifically, they can benefit from a family mission statement. Families that successfully preserve their wealth typically form a “social compact,” which reflects values that are passed on from generation to generation. A family mission statement not only articulates the family’s purpose, vision, and values, but it also acts as a guide to what is expected from future generations.
CRI Can Help You Pep Up Your Mission Statement
A well-thought-out mission statement could put your company firmly on the court of success. If you’re ready to define – or add some sparkle to – your mission, then contact the team at CRI. We’ll be ready with our pom-poms to help you simultaneously evaluate your current business plan and model.