God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference. (Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr)
A mission statement is a short statement of an organization's purpose, identifying the scope of its operations: what kind of product or service it provides, its primary customers or market, and its geographical region of operation. It may include a short statement of such fundamental matters as the organization's values or philosophies, a business's main competitive advantages, or a desired future state—the "vision". (Wikipedia)
A mission statement is not simply a description of an organization by an external party, but an expression, made by its leaders, of their desires and intent for the organization. The purpose of a mission statement is to focus and direct the organization itself. It communicates primarily to the people who make up the organization—its members or employees—giving them a shared understanding of the organization's intended direction. Organizations normally do not change their mission statements over time, since they define their continuous, ongoing purpose and focus. (Wikipedia)
According to Forbes, the following questions must be answered in the mission statement:
- "What do we do?" The mission statement should clearly outline the main purpose of the organisation, and what they do.
- "How do we do it?" It should also mention how you plan on achieving the mission statement.
- "Whom do we do it for?" The audience of the mission statement should be clearly stated within the mission statement.
- "What value are we bringing?" The benefits and values of the mission statement should be clearly outlined.
The mission should:
- Provide a sense of timelessness
- Involve both “ends” and “means”
- Appeal to all stakeholders
- Address all four basic needs (physical/economic, social/emotional, mental/ intellectual, & spiritual/holistic)
- Be developed and owned at all levels
Great Mission Statement Examples (Kolowich)
- Life is Good: To spread the power of optimism.
- sweetgreen: To inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food.
- Patagonia: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.
- American Express: We work hard every day to make American Express the world's most respected service brand.
- Warby Parker: To offer designer eyewear at a revolutionary price, while leading the way for socially conscious businesses.
- InvisionApp: Question Assumptions. Think Deeply. Iterate as a Lifestyle. Details, Details. Design is Everywhere. Integrity.
- Honest Tea: To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages.
- IKEA: To create a better everyday life for the many people.
- Nordstrom: To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.
- Cradles to Crayons: Provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive – at home, at school and at play.
- Universal Health Services, Inc.: To provide superior quality healthcare services that: PATIENTS recommend to family and friends, PHYSICIANS prefer for their patients, PURCHASERS select for their clients, EMPLOYEES are proud of, and INVESTORS seek for long-term returns.
- JetBlue: To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.
- Workday: To put people at the center of enterprise software.
- Prezi: To reinvent how people share knowledge, tell stories, and inspire their audiences to act.
- Tesla: To accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy.
- Invisible Children: To end violence and exploitation facing our world's most isolated and vulnerable communities.
- TED: Spread ideas.