“Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”
What is a mission statement? Is it the same as a vision statement? Do you really need them?
A mission statement is defined as: a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization or individual. A vision statement is defined as: the optimal desired future state of what an organization wants to achieve over time. So basically, think of your mission statement as an expression of what your organization strives to do today, and your vision statement explains where your organization seeks to be in the future.
So, what is the benefit of having a mission and vision statement?
In one word? Clarity. These statements not only describe your purpose to your audience, but they can (and should) serve as the driving force behind every action an organization takes. A strong mission can empower your people to understand what next steps to take and how to make decisions. (“Does this action or decision align with the organization’s mission and vision? The answer should guide my next move.”) Check out this argument for why a mission and vision are more important for a startup business than a business plan! The author makes some great points.
Who should write these statements?
Mission and vision statements take time to develop. You are trying to convey your company’s entire purpose – potentially a number of ideas – in a concise, comprehensible manner. It’s a similar process to logo development: the whittling down of broader concepts into one message that communicateseverything you are trying to say. Here are some good questions to get you started. Consider hiring a professional to assist with the process, but representatives from each area of your business should have a part in crafting the mission and vision. This allows for an even perspective, and people are bound to feel more invested in a mission and vision they helped create. I found some great examples of strong mission and vision statements here.
What is NOT a mission or vision statement?
Your tagline is not your mission or vision, though it can (and should!) reflect it.
Developing a mission and vision statement will take time, but if they have been created thoughtfully and truthfully, your organization will feel the benefits of their existence.