What is an Effective Mission Statement?
Purpose of a Mission Statement
In general, the Mission Statement is a concise statement of the aims and values of an organization or individual. This statement identifies the organization’s purpose and drives the organization’s direction, price, quality, and relationships.
Mission statements tend to stay the same over time but some may be updated to reflect the evolution of an organization. Well-designed mission statements help an organization, its staff, and its customers understand what is important (or not) to an organization, the market it serves, and its overall sense of direction. That organization’s priorities, directives, and activities should all be crafted with that mission statement in mind.
For example, the mission statement – To be the best we can be – can be applied to any company and offers nothing distinct in its market, value, or product that would draw a potential customer or become the rally point for an organization’s staff.
Key Components of a Mission Statement
Key Market Focus
Who is the target client or customer?
In a well-crafted mission statement, the customer is easily recognized whether stated or implied. And that customer can either be more general in nature or a specific niche target but the customer is still clear to anyone who reads the statement.
Value to Customer
What the value offered to a potential client or customer?
The valued item could be a product (or physical item), service, place, belief, etc. as long as there is actual or perceived value to that target customer. Price is different than value since a free item could be more valuable if there is sentiment attached.
What are the organization’s key direction and core values?
Communicating a sense of direction helps everyone understand what the organization is about and what it stands for. Each organization defines what is most important to it and sets the stage on how it will run the company.
Advantages vs. Disadvantages of a Mission Statement
A realistic and clear mission statement help create a common perspective between an organization’s staff, actual or potential customers, and stakeholders. Everyone understands and recognizes the value and purpose of the organization. Internal decisions are made with more focus. Customers and staff can connect with that organization’s values.
However, an unrealistic or vague mission statement has little purpose and could actually have the opposite effect. Mission statements that are far too optimistic, cannot be accomplished, or too vague leaves confusion and doubt. The organization appears unsure of itself. And, the effort spent crafting the statement could be seen as a waste of time and resources.