Inmy opinion a mission statement is the heart and soul of any company. There is something about a well-written mission statement, and a company that goes out of its way to stand behind that mission that seems to make a connection with the customer. From time to time we may encounter companies that seem to have lost their way, which can be chalked up to a number of different factors. Lack of business clarity (wavering from the company’s mission) or operating without a mission altogether come to mind. For a company to succeed, it must not only have a mission but strive to live out that mission.
WHY A MISSION STATEMENT?
I recommend that every business or organization invest in developing a quality mission statement. A company’s mission statement should summarize what the company does and what principles guide its day-to-day activities. A good mission statement should accurately explain why your organization exists and what it hopes to achieve in the future. Your mission statement is an opportunity to define your business at the most basic level. It should tell your company’s story, ideals, what you do, what you stand for, and why you do it.
UPON CLOSER EXAMINATION
Over the years I’ve had a chance to make several trips to Disney World and will use them for this example. Let’s take a moment to examine the company’s mission statement:
The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of brands to differentiate our content, services, and consumer products, we seek to develop the most creative, innovative, and profitable entertainment experiences and related products in the world.
A mission statement is a dynamic, living, breathing, work in progress.
After reading Disney’s mission statement what are some of your thoughts?
- Does the company’s mission do anything for you?
- Do you feel that Disney’s mission is crafted to make a connection with you on a more personal level?
- What about the company’s mission statement works for you?
- Based on your experiences with the company, has Disney done a good job of upholding its mission?
SIMPLE MISSION GUIDELINES
As you write or reexamine your own mission statement, try answering the following questions:
- What beliefs and values are being expressed about your organization?
- Have you clearly described your firm’s products and services?
- Can you describe your target customers, their characteristics and the markets you compete in?
- Can the readers clearly identify the value that you offer? What needs and wants do you satisfy?
- Does your mission statement communicate any competitive advantage your company holds?
It’s important to keep in mind that your mission statement is a dynamic, living, breathing statement as well as an ongoing work in progress. So be sure to revisit and refine it until it resonates not only with you but also with all who read it.
Examine the mission statements of the following companies using the five guidelines presented earlier. How would you rate them?
- Google: “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
- Uber: “To make transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere for everyone.”
- Airbnb: “To connect millions of people in real life all over the world through a community marketplace so that you can Belong Anywhere.”
- Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit— one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
- Apple: “Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals, and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software, and Internet offerings.” *This is one of Apple’s original mission statements. How does it compare with its current mission? Why do you think they changed it?