Keep Your Mission from the Crash and Burn

Jul 30, 2014

If an airline gave you the option to select the plane you fly on, would you choose the multi-million dollar, over-engineered machine or the plane built by Billy-Bob in his backyard?

Choose wisely; it could be the difference between smooth flying and a fiery crash.

A mission statement is very nearly the same. It’s important to select a research based, engineered phrase rather than one that is thrown together. It’s more than just a couple lines in an employee handbook; it’s a statement capturing your organization’s goals and philosophies. It is the fundamental base that allows you to create your organization’s culture, business practice, and presence.

It may seem like a rudimentary exercise, but crafting the right mission statement will ensure you don’t crash and burn.

Security Check-Point – Check your content before you begin.

Like security in the airport, make sure you’re only bringing essential information into your mission statement. Here are some good questions to pose:

  • What do we do?
  • Who are our customers?
  • How are we different from our competition?
  • What underlying philosophies or values do we operate under?
  • What do we want to be remembered for?

Now that you’ve screened your preliminary information, you can build your mission statement. In one or two concise sentences, craft a phrase that synthesizes why your organization exists. The information you’ve already collected will help you do this.

Pre-Boarding Checklist – 4 Tips for an awesome mission statement.

Before you can take that new mission statement to cruising altitude, it’s a good idea to take a step back and evaluate it’s content. Here’s a pre-flight checklist to make sure you’ve created an awesome mission:

  1. It’s not fluffy like the clouds. Take a gigantic red pen to your mission statement and red-line the excess fluff and business jargon. It has no place in your mission statement and is really, really distracting. Get to the point in as few words as possible.
  2. Would you wear it on a shirt? If the answer is no, then you might consider revising it.
  3. It’s specific. Sure, mission statements are big, but they can also be specific. You can’t be everything to everyone, so narrow the focus and outline what your adding to the market.
  4. It’s an action. The best missions have action, not just a string of gushy romantic feelings. Your company looks to this statement to make decisions, so having a mission that can drive activity is vital. 

Need more guidance? Here’s a quick list of mission statements we think are pretty sweet:

Apple:  “We are committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.”

Google: “Organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Amazon: “To build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

Sony: “To experience the joy of advancing and applying technology for the benefit of the public.”




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