Strategic Planning: How to Write a Mission Statement - dummies

Strategic Planning: How to Write a Mission Statement

By Erica Olsen

As part of your strategic planning process, you’ve determined the need for a new mission statement. You can start from scratch or even revise the one you currently have.

The three components in the following list can help you craft your mission statement. Consider answering these questions from your customers’ perspective, and you’ll instantly see an improvement in your responses.

  • What’s the purpose of our business? Why do we exist?

  • What activity are we going to do to accomplish our purpose? What are we going to provide?

  • What do we intend to accomplish on behalf of our customers? Or who benefits from our work?

Follow these steps to create an effective mission statement:

  1. Collect ideas and opinions (either through a group meeting or an individual survey) of your senior staff and key employees about the organization’s mission.

    Ask for responses and input specifically on the three questions listed earlier in this section. If you hold a meeting, just brainstorm and allow everyone’s ideas to be collected.

  2. Collate and synthesize the responses, looking for similar themes. Develop several different versions of a draft mission statement.

    Consider using present tense language so the statement reflects what you are, not what you aspire to become.

  3. Circulate the draft statements and ask for feedback.

    Have the staff vote on its favorite version.

  4. Select the best one and make sure every employee receives a copy.

    If you’re developing the mission statement as part of your strategic plan, consider waiting to communicate the new mission statement until the plan is finished.

The organization’s purpose and its final mission statement shouldn’t be developed by a committee. Use the process described in this section to solicit ideas and input, but ultimately senior management and leaders set the strategic foundation for an organization.

Don’t get stuck on this part of the process. If need be, develop a mission statement or a revised statement that’s dubbed as a work in progress or a draft. Many organizations get caught up in developing the most perfect statement possible. This thought process misses the reason for a mission statement in the first place.

Although you can use your statement in your marketing collateral or with customers (so you may want to check the spelling and grammar), the mission statement’s primary usage is to clearly state the purpose of your organization to your employees and other stakeholders. Sometimes it takes years to perfect the statement for public usage. In the meantime, you have a team that understands why it comes to work every day.