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The Mission Statement Revisited or This Time It's All About Us

Mar 9, 2008
The mission statement is a hybrid between a slogan and an executive summary. Just as slogans and executive summaries can be used in many ways so too can a good mission statement. An effective mission statement can compliment all the other good things you do.

If you don't have a mission statement you are not alone...many companies don't. Many that do have statements that are ineffective or unused.

This brings us to the logical conclusion that almost no businesses have effective mission statements, which should give your business good reason to do one.

A mission statement can say who you are, what you do, what you stand for and why you do it. Though not a slogan or motto it can be combined with one. The best mission statements are short, maybe one or two sentences long.

This makes writing the mission statement a sometimes difficult chore; many companies find it easier to write a brochure than a mission statement. But although perhaps difficult the generation of a good, quality mission statement is well worth the effort.

An effective mission statement is best developed with input by all the members of an organization. It is important to remember that the mission statement is not just for customers and clients; employees will constantly be exposed to it as well.

Even if certain employees think it is silly or have no ideas (both are common) they will buy into the concept more if their opinion is solicited.

Effective mission statements take time...sometimes up to several months allowing for input and final editing. During that period keep asking for input.
It is a good idea to examine other mission statements to get approaches to yours; most companies put their mission statement on their website.

Humor, sarcasm, cynicism and eloquence are usually not good components of an effective mission statement. Simplicity, honesty and brevity are. Avoid saying how great you are, what great quality and what great service you provide. Using these concepts makes you indistinguishable from your competitors who say the same thing.

Effective mission statements need not set the world on fire and overly lofty statements have little credibility. The best ones are direct and powerful.

Try to state something that elicits an emotion or feeling; perhaps powerful or perhaps more subtle. There are no formulas other than try to make your statement you and make it do something that will cause notice.

Most importantly since it is yours make certain your statement is you and not some other company. That is why you should not copy a statement from another company. Even if your statement is a little unpolished it will appear to have more credibility than if it portrays you as something you are not.

Make certain you believe in your statement. If you do not believe it, it is a lie. Everyone that deals with you will know it is a lie.

Take a look at mission statements in brochures, websites or office walls. Most say something about the commitment to quality and service and how the company is gung ho on everything it does as it makes a profit off you. Those types of mission statements are useless and detrimental to the image your company needs to project.

If you have such a mission statement hanging on your wall, take it down and do another. You will feel a lot less foolish.

In a real sense the mission statement should be viewed more as an ongoing process rather than finalized text chiseled in stone. As your company develops the mission statement may need to be revised to reflect new changes.

Review and edit your statement on a regular basis. By keeping the statement fluid and ongoing it can be used as a policy statement by your company that stays in front of your employees and customers on a daily basis.

This effort is further enhanced if you use your mission statement to supplement your sales and marketing tactics and not as standalone marketing collateral.

Seriously consider combining your slogan, if you have one, with your mission statement. This could be tricky and you will have to do a number of mock ups to first determine if this will work. There are many advantages to having one concise message linked to all your marketing collateral and human resources materials.

Make certain all in your organization get a copy of the statement. Use it in your personnel manual, business meetings and post it in the workplace. You and your people should be proud of your mission statement. If not, develop another one.

There is no fool like the fool that has a goofy mission statement hanging on their wall; it shows you really don't care.

If your do your mission statement correctly it can deliver solid value to your company and it will be your mission accomplished. That's what you want, right?
About the Author
Jack Deal is the owner of Jack D. Deal Business Consulting. Related articles may be found at http://www.jddeal.com/blog/business and http://www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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