Do you recognize this mission statement?
Organize global information and make it universally accessible and useful.
It’s Google’s. And this one ?
Accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation by bringing compelling mass electric cars to market as soon as possible.
Of course, it’s Tesla.
And finally, how about that?
It is our responsibility to simplify advanced products and to continue to gradually promote and perpetuate manufactured solutions, while striving for technical leadership.
I invented this one! Awful, isn’t it? But the point is, it almost seems doable.
Company mission statements can serve as strong guidelines that help promote an attitude and culture that contributes to your business goals. Or, they can mean so little that you might as well have generated them using a prank tool like this.
So what goes into a great mission statement?
In our usual way, when asked a question like this, we turned to data.
We analyzed 200 corporate mission statements from an equal mix of Fortune 500 companies (large players) and Inc 500 companies (private companies) so that we could get a feel for what the average mission statement looks like. .
We found the average length of a mission statement, common words and phrases, and frequently used constructs. That’s not to say it’s as easy as putting a few buzzwords into a template, but the data and examples should be a good place to start and give you an idea.
A word cloud generated from the 200 examples of mission statements analyzed in this article. Tool: WordClouds.com
Here are the main conclusions of 200 corporate mission statements:
- 82% company mission statements spoke of the intentions and didn’t say anything about their actual actions
- The medium length of a mission statement is 29 words, with larger companies tending to choose longer statements
- The most common words include “mission”, “value”, “customers”, “services”, “technology”, “help”, “quality” and “products”.
- 85% talk about the company’s dedication to its customers
- 37% talk about the company’s dedication to its shareholders
- 21% talk about the company’s dedication to its employees
- 3% talk about the company’s commitment to company
Click here for the dataset we created to write this article.
But first, let’s see what a mission statement is and why you should write one.
What is the point of a corporate mission statement?
Your business mission statement works as it sounds – it states your business mission.
Your mission may seem like “to make the most profit”, but the value of your business to anyone except the owners is more complicated. This is why a mission statement is not so straightforward and will usually include a clue as to How? ‘Or’ What you serve who you serve.
What is the point of a mission statement? Well, he answers this question: “what is your business for?” “.
For example, what is the interest of Ford? In their mission statement, they say they “provide personal mobility to people around the world”. In Appian’s case, it’s about “connecting people and information in a way that revolutionizes business.”
A mission statement helps brand your business, but it’s also a useful internal tool for checking whether business decisions are aligned with the desired outcome. In the words of Chron contributor and professor of marketing Neil kokemuller, a mission statement “offers insight into what business leaders see as the primary purpose of being in business.”
- summarize the objectives, strategy and values of the company
- demonstrate your organizational values to your employees and the general public
- convey your customer targets, your positioning in your market and your quantitative objectives
There is a lot to be done on the carefully chosen words of a mission statement, but also many benefits to be enjoyed.
Internally, your mission statement acts as a consistent guideline to refer to when evaluating every decision, and as an anchor around which to develop new initiatives that help you achieve your goals.
For example, during a big strategic change, McGraw Hill must consider whether this fits his mission:
“To assume our responsibilities towards serve and improve the communities in which we work and live and the society we depend on.
Not serving or improving communities? Throw it!
According to TINYpulse, this is a useful point of reference – “a mission statement opens [internal] communication and can refocus a team that has been separated in too many directions, ”writes Laurel Weibezahn.
A mission statement also helps shape the corporate culture from the start; it could attract the right hires, deter bad hires, and help guide existing employees to act in accordance with your organization’s goals and best interests. In a rapidly growing business, it is difficult to control cultural development if it is not rooted in a fixed, unifying statement that gives your decisions proof and purpose.
A mission statement could be part of the solution to this problem… if only you could write a good one. Based on our analysis, here’s how:
Writing a corporate mission statement that communicates and inspires
Ask yourself, “What are you doing?” Or “What are you going to do?” “
Mission statements can describe what your business actually does or what it intends to do. In this study, we found that 82% of mission statements do not include any mention of what the company is doing right now, and instead choose to focus on what they hope to achieve in the future. This makes sense because a mission statement acts as a goal rather than a description of reality.
For example, Harley Davidson directly declares what it does:
We to fill dreams through the motorcycle experience, providing motorcyclists and the general public with a growing range of motorcycles and branded products and services in selected market segments.
CVS, meanwhile, describes his vision:
We will be the easiest drugstore retailer for customers to use.
A big goal is useful as a benchmark for internal decisions, but a description of what you are actively doing – rather than what you hope to do – might be more effective in communicating immediate value to customers, employees, and shareholders. .
Summarize your goals and how you achieve them
Mission statements share internal goals with the public and roughly explain how those goals are to be achieved.
Apple’s current mission statement is so dry it’s hardly worth sharing, but Steve Jobs’ original vision in 1980 was both inspiring and functional:
Make a contribution to the world by creating tools for the mind that advance humanity.
By breaking this down, you can see some clear goals and methods:
- Goal: make a contribution to the world
- Goal: to advance humanity
- Method: craft tools for the mind
The same breakdown is possible with AGCO’s less inspiring statement:
Profitable growth through superior customer service, innovation, quality and commitment.
The methods are more fuzzy, but they are present:
- Goal: profitable growth
- Method: superior customer service
- Method: innovation, quality and commitment
What are your business goals and how do you plan to achieve them? Your response to this will be an essential ingredient of your mission statement.
Communicate who you serve and how
One aspect common to almost all of the mission statements we analyzed was an indication of who the company serves and how it does it. Mainly, it means explaining what you are doing to:
- Your customers
- Your employees
- Your shareholders
We found that over four-fifths of mission statements mention what the company does for its customers. For example, Microsoft’s mission statement is purely focused on the customer’s bottom line:
At Microsoft, we are working to help individuals and businesses across the world are realizing their full potential. This is our mission. Everything we do reflects this mission and the values that make it possible.
It uses the customer as a constant point of reference for decision-making rather than committing (explicitly) to meeting the needs of its shareholders. On the other side of the spectrum, Kerr-McGee has made no secret of his intentions to enrich his shareholders:
To create the value for shareholders through the energy sector.
While completely devoid of emotion and morality, this mission statement is one of the most honest things the company has done. Unlike Kerr-McGee, some companies make commitments that recognize a wide range of interests and responsibilities. Take, for example, Owens & Minor:
Our mission is to create consistency value for our customers and supply chain partners who maximize shareholder value and long-term earnings growth: we will achieve this by operating our business with integrity and with the highest ethical standards, while acting in a manner Socially responsible manner with particular emphasis on the well-being of our teammates and the communities we serve.
This is the only mission statement in the dataset that poses a quadruple threat, taking its hat off to customers, shareholders, employees and society.
A corporate mission statement should not be taken lightly; it affects your brand, your internal focus and your core values as a business. For some, it is a guarantee of profit for the shareholders. For others, it’s a statement of the company’s intention to make monumental positive change in the world we live in.
So, when writing your business mission statement, consider the following:
- What does your business do, or strive to do, that makes it unique?
- What interests do you serve and how?
- Are you looking to make an impact on the company, create a top-notch environment for your employees, deliver shareholder value or are customers the most important asset?
Finding the answers to these questions isn’t just helpful in crafting a mission statement – they’re the basics that will anchor you as your business grows.
How did you develop your mission statement? What’s the best (or worst) mission statement you’ve come up with? Let’s discuss in the comments.