A mission statement is the guiding principle or principles that govern the direction of a project or of a company as a whole. Mission statements define what goals you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish those goals. So as 2012 begins, resolve to step back and examine your existing mission statements. Does the mission fit the direction and focus you want for this upcoming year? How successful were you and your organization at meeting the goals outlined in that previous mission statement? What worked and what didn’t work? Do you need to adjust the statement in any way as a result?
In your mission statement, you outline the means of how you want projects to be handled throughout the year (or longer, if necessary). A good mission statement will basically prevent you from deviating too far from your company’s overall goals. And more importantly, they will prevent you from embarking on projects or tasks that are counterproductive to those goals. Take a look at some of the missions statements of some fortune 500 companies at Missionstatements.com and see how your mission statement compares.
But what if your company doesn’t have a mission statement? Where do you start then? Great mission statements typically touch on three main topics: The What, The How, and The Who. The What refers to the need being addressed by your organization. What product or service does your organization provide that will address that need? For example, maybe your local community lacks movie houses or possibly a stage for local and visiting theater groups to perform at. Your “The What” may be something like, “The Community Arts and Movie Restoration Alliance is a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of raising funds and organizing the construction, restoration, and maintenance of structures in our community for movies, plays, and musicals.”
The How relates to what your organization does to meet those needs. How does your organization accomplish its tasks? If you were a retail store, for example, you might say that you will provide the lowest priced items by leveraging your overall buying power as well as by reducing costs through efficiency in logistics and just-in-time inventory. Let’s take another look at our theater organization. We might add to the mission statement that, “We will do this by holding monthly fund raisers and a yearly convention held in our community.”
This leads us to our final topic regarding what great mission statements should need—The Who. The Who refers to an English rock band formed in 1964 by Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon. Hehe. Joking aside, for our purposes, it actually refers to the organization’s beliefs and core principles which define “who” the company or organization. In our theater group, we might say something like, “The Alliance will not discriminate against any performance held in structures we maintain, but will strongly focus on providing the community with quality family-oriented productions when possible.”
So your mission, reader, should you choose to accept it, is to locate your organization’s statement and review it. If you locate this target, determine if it meets with your current goals and the direction that you want your organization to be heading in. As always, should any member of our organization be caught without a mission statement, the secretary downstairs will most likely disavow all knowledge of your organization’s actions. This blog will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck reader.
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