Mission Statement

This is part of TheViewFromSeventyMilesUp.

A mission statement is usually a short statement of the purpose for a company to exist. All companies have as one of their missions to keep people gainfully employed; since this is an implied purpose for a company, it is seldom mentioned in a Mission Statement.

A good basis for determining a Mission is to base it upon fulfilling a specific human requirement. Here are some example Mission Statements:

I doubt you would get many investors in a company that had the above as mission statements. The primary mission of a well run company is to make money. In the process, it benefits people in the sorts of ways listed above.

Most companies actually build their public Mission Statement from something akin to a summary of their StrategicPlanning.

I knew things had gone from bad to worse when our parish issued a MissionStatement.

In my experience, a MissionStatement is a semantically-null paragraph designed to attract investors and placate socially-concerned board members.

Ah, I see the problem. You're confusing a Mission Statement, which is a public declaration, with a CompanysMission?. The latter is seldom spoken about, as most employees understand it implicitly.

The MissionStatement, to be effective, must be based on the realities of doing business, to twist or mis-state the mission of a company to be only related to stockholders does little to empower employees to do a better job, or to achieve the goals stated. An effective MissionStatement must take more into account than the bottom line. While the bottom line profit is important, the manner and method of its accomplishment are much more important. The value added by the efforts of its members individually and jointly and the motivations which drive them to excellence in technique and performance are to be considered as a part of an effective MissionStatement. To confuse a MissionStatement as a statement to either satisfy or deceive the stockholders, does the concept of Mission a gross injustice. -- DonaldNoyes

Mission statements have a bad reputation because many are poorly phrased. Reducing a mission statement is easy, and can restore clarity. Here's an example, borrowing one of the sample mission statements above.

Original mission statement: Hmm. Healthy people don't need healing.

If the medicines don't exist yet, they can't be used at any time other than the future.

Why only doctors and not nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians' assistants? What about over-the-counter medicines?

Do medicines have any purpose besides healing people?

Final mission statement: Now that's a mission statement E.B. White might approve. Note that the last question could be answered negatively, which might lead to different mission statements:

There can also be personal vision and mission statements that help identify and develop LifeGoals (not just business).

See InvisibleHands? for the roots of the underlying philosophy.

See also: CategoryPlanning, SharedVision, StrategicPlanning

EditText of this page (last edited March 13, 2004) or FindPage with title or text search

Meatball   Why