Mission statements: how to hit the mark
Follow these simple tips to ensure your mission statement remains relevant and inspiring throughout the years:
Review it annually
Each year, take a look at your mission statement and consider whether it needs to change to better reflect your priorities. Perhaps it can just be simplified to become more powerful.
A Perth business she started her business more than a decade ago with the mission statement: “I surround myself with inspirational, forward-thinking people. I lead by example to inspire all those I have contact with to reach their true potential and be the best they can be.”
Today it is simply: “I leave people better than I found them: engaged, empowered and excited.”
Everyone hates ‘synergy’
If your mission statement includes the word synergy, scrap it and start again. And don’t try to ‘alleviate’ or ‘facilitate’ anything.
Jargon and overused business clichés in your mission statement will make it sound insincere.
Convey your message in simple, conversational language.
As a useful guide – say it out loud. If it makes sense and sounds good read aloud, it probably is.
It’s not about money
If the company is all about making people rich and successful, then staff at ground level probably won’t engage with it.
People have to connect with your mission because it’s inspiring and helps people understand how they fit into that process.
Missions on a journey
US Chocolate company Hershey’s copped some flak for its seemingly win-at-all-costs mission statement: “Undisputed market leadership”.
It realigned its values by changing it to: “Continuing Milton Hershey’s legacy of commitment to consumers, community and children, we provide high-quality Hershey’s products while conducting our business in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable manner.”
Another company that seems to have made the same journey in reverse is Apple.
Its mission statement under Steve Jobs had an altruistic air: “To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”
Today, Apple’s mission statement is not easy to find – it’s absent from its website.
It is the rather more clinical and product-focused, if it is indeed this statement at the bottom of its 2018 media releases:
“Apple revolutionised personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms – iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS – provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s more than 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.”
Remember, your mission statement is more than a blurb on your website.
It tells the world what you care about and shapes the way customers and staff view you.