7 Tips for Writing a Great Mission Statement

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A mission statement is a brief summary of an organization’s core beliefs and key goals. In the contemporary era, all sorts of organizations – businesses, non-profits, schools and clubs – have developed mission statements. Many others plan to do so.

Writing a mission statement is not a simple task. The statement must be short but complete. It must express the organization’s values without stating the obvious. It must be distinctive yet not obscure.

Here are seven tips for writing a mission statement that both inspires your employees/members and impresses your customers/clients.

1. Get input from your employees.

If the composition of the statement is purely a top-down exercise, the employees will not take ownership of it. Solicit suggestions through your organization’s intranet and/or through employee gatherings.

2. Edit the suggestions.

Assign a writer to organize the feedback into a cohesive whole that flows smoothly. Feel free to use a mixture of paragraphs and lists.

3. Pinpoint what is unique about your organization.

Simply repeating the phrases and sentiments used by other companies in your sector will result in a statement that impresses neither your employees nor your customers. Take the time to identify what makes your organization different.

4. Acknowledge the past but look towards the future.

The statement should provide some sense of the origins of the organization, but the main focus should be your plans and ambitions. These plans should be expressed not in business/accounting terms (market share, or return on investment) but in wording that connects the organization’s activities to universal human needs and desires (the need for nutritious food, or the desire to communicate with others).

5. Use beautiful language but make sure the words are anchored in reality.

The mission statement is an opportunity for your organization to speak eloquently about its deepest convictions and fondest dreams. Still, the wording must somehow relate to your products or services, so that readers can see the connection between the company’s aspirations and its day-to-day activities.

 6. Avoid buzzwords.

Terms like “environmental responsibility,” “inclusion,” “socially conscious,” and “embracing diversity” have become clichés through overuse. Find your own way – a good writer can help – of making the relevant points about your organization.

7. Create a visually appealing presentation.

Once you have finalized the wording, ask a graphic designer to develop a typographical representation – choosing fonts, colors, and logo(s) – that can be successfully deployed on paper and online.

A good mission statement provides the members of your organization with a clear vision of the future while conveying to customers both your company’s character and its aspirations. Accordingly, it is important to commit the time and effort required to write an effective statement.

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