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Creating a Mission Vision Statement

Creating a Mission Vision Statement

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Published by geriane322

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Published by: geriane322 on Feb 17, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Purpose and mission statements canbe powerful tools for achievingmotivated, creative, empoweredemployees.This page makes a distinction betweenboth purpose and mission statementsand provides you guidance for constructing them. Sounds easy. It'stough to do well, but worth the effort.A galvanizing mission can be of immense value.
What is a Mission Statement?
(from James Collins and Jerry Porras)
A true mission is a clear and compelling goal that focuses people's efforts. It is tangible, specific, crisp, clear andengaging. It reaches out and grabs people in the gut. Example:
"This nation should dedicate itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moonand returning him safely to Earth." 
Like the moon flight, a good mission has a clear finish line -- you should be able to tell when you've done it -- atwhich point, you need to create a new mission. "We're going to climb Mount Everest" is a mission; the moregeneral, "We're going to climb the Himalayas" is not.And, like the moon flight, a good mission is risky, falling in a gray zone where reason says, "This is unreasonable";and your intuition and drive say, "But we believe we can do it anyway."In summary, a mission is
"What we are here to do"
A clear and compelling goal that serves to unify an organization's efforts
Crisp, clear, engaging, verging on unreasonable.Several approaches can be useful to defining a mission:
set a clear, definable target and aim for it (e.g. NASA moon mission)
Common Enemy:
create a goal focused on defeating a common enemy (e.g. Pepsi: "Beat Coke!")
Role Model:
select a well-known success and emulate it (e.g. Giro Sport Design: "to be to the cyclingindustry what Nike is to athletic shoes and Apple is to computers")
Some people apply the label "Mission Statement" to a Purpose Statement but that loses the opportunityto clarify a short-term objective. I like the military connotation. It's a clear, definable and motivationalpoint of focus. It's an achievable goal, a clear finish line to work towards, the next short-term milestone,the next "hill to take".
Getting a team in alignment is a very powerful thing. Consciously and unconsciously, people are making decisionsall day long. It is human nature that people want to do the right thing. A clear mission statement empowers peopleto set the correct priorities and make the correct decisions.
What is a Purpose Statement?
(from James Collins and Jerry Porras)
is the fundamental set of reasons for the organization' existence -- in the broadest, mostenduring sense what people in the organization want to contribute to the external world. In an ongoingorganization, such as a corporation or an educational institution, purpose is continually pursued, but never fully achieved. It is not a specific objective that you accomplish and then say, "We are done." Effectivepurpose is broad and inspirational, something that strikes a basic chord and provides a clear sense of direction for the organization and its members.In the case of the space program, Kennedy's purpose was not to put a human being on the moon by theend of the decade (again, this was a mission). Rather, it was to work toward making the United Statesthe greatest and most respected nation in the world, and Kennedy viewed a manned moon landing as anecessary step in that direction.If you ask your management team to define your company's purpose and they say something like: "Weexist to maximize shareholder wealth." Tell them that's not good enough. It does not inspire anyone andprovides precious little guidance!Instead, say authors Collins and Porras, ask these questions: "If you woke up tomorrow morning withenough money in the bank to retire, what is it about this company that would make you want to continueworking here? What deeper sense of purpose would motivate you to continue to dedicate your preciouscreative energies to this company's efforts? As a helpful exercise they suggest that you start with adescriptive statement. "We make X products." or "We deliver X services," and then ask, "Why is thatimportant?" Ask it five times. After a few whys, you'll find that you're getting down to the fundamentalpurpose of your organization. You will start to articulate the very soul of your organization.Here’s a look at some core purpose statements for some successful companies.* Notice, none of themsay: To maximize shareholder value!
To solve unsolved problems innovatively.
Fannie Mae:
To strengthen the social fabric by continually democratizing home ownership.
To make technical contributions for the advancement and welfare of humanity.
Mary Kay Cosmetics:
To give unlimited opportunity to women.
: To preserve and improve human life.
To experience the emotion of competition, winning and crushing competitors.
To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people.In summary, a purpose is
"Why we exist"
Should be succinct; 1 or 2 sentences at most
Should quickly and clearly convey how the organization fills basic human needs
Should be simple enough to pass the
grandmother test 
: if you can explain it to her so she canunderstand it, then maybe you're on to something
Should tie products/services to a more fundamental need, rather than simply mentioning theproducts/services
Should be broad, inspirational, enduring, compelling and flexible enough to last 100 years.
Only needs to be meaningful and inspirational to people inside the organization; it need not beexciting to all outsiders
Purpose is a motivating factor, not a differentiating factor 
Putting it all together:
A compelling
can be translated into
which are realized through
implemented as
to generate

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