A good mission statement gives you a clear and concise account of what your business must do by answering the basic questions: who, what, when, where, and how
It should have insight into what the competition is doing, an understanding of what needs to be accomplished and any constraints, and considered critical facts and assumptions affecting your operation. It should have knowledge of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, attracting employees who will embrace your purpose, or organizational culture.
There may be a broader company mission statement, as well as subordinate department business mission statements. In either case, a good mission statement will answer these questions:
- Who will perform the action?
- What action is desired?
- When will the action begin?
- Where will the action occur?
- How will the action(s) be performed?
Example Company Mission Statement
“Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.”
- Who – implied; all employees
- What – dedicated to the highest quality of Customer Service
- When – implied; all of the time
- Where – implied; everywhere the company conducts business
- How – delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit
As depicted in the infographic, another key to a good mission statement is attracting employees who can align with your purpose. They believe your culture provides them a place where they can live the dream because their personal and professional values align. Simply put, they want to be a contributing member of this community and they want to share your vision.
Company Vision Statement
While the mission statement addresses: who, what, when, where, and how, further clarification of “how” will be found within your company culture, tat is, how your company lives its values. The answer to “why” should be found within your company vision statement.
EXAMPLE: “We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the Organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest customer.”
Nuts: Southwest Airline’s Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success, by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg, illustrates how a vision, combined with corporate values for all employees, makes a company mission statement have great impact.
A good mission statement combined with a clear vision will attract the right people to your organization. Once senior leaders have answered the broader purpose “how” and “why” questions, it is a matter of upholding the company values and beliefs so that you retain the right people who will maintain your desired company culture.
Aligning Personal and Professional Values
When your leadership team creates an atmosphere in which others feel they work within a fair environment where rules apply to everyone, demonstrating the core values of your culture like fairness, integrity, honesty, human dignity, a sense of service, quality, excellence, potential, and growth; they lead by example.
Creating this environment is an extremely important part of holding each other accountable, further increasing the likelihood that the team members “buy-in” to your vision. It creates a safe haven and instills confidence. It inspires the most productive members of your organization who are now engaged, because they found a place where their personal and professional values are aligned.