In just a sentence or two, a mission statement captures the reason for your company’s existence. Whether your company is revisiting its current mission statement or is crafting its first, it’s vital to succinctly convey to employees, customers, partners, and the community what you’re all about.
At Influence & Co., we recently went through a mission statement revamping. In preparation for our annual company retreat (and our fifth anniversary), we thought it best to re-examine ourselves and finally define and document our purpose. Our new mission statement reads:
Influence & Co.’s mission is to endlessly improve the way content is crafted and distributed. We’re technology-fueled content creators who push the boundaries of what can be achieved for clients and readers alike.
It took a bit of time and a lot of collaboration to arrive at our new mission statement, and we wanted to share some of our process and perspective to help you when it comes time for you to do the same.
The answer is that there’s no bad time. So if you don’t have a strong mission statement that communicates what your company stands for, now is as good a time as any to craft one.
Here are some other key moments that represent ideal opportunities for creating or revamping a mission statement:• If leadership is off-base about why your company exists. The leadership team should be communicating and enforcing the reason for your company’s existence to the rest of the team. It’s crucial for leadership to be on the same page and agree with the mission statement so that the rest of your employees aren’t misinformed. If there’s misalignment, it’s worth re-examining or updating your mission statement.
• If you need to reignite employee brand advocacy. Nothing’s more effective at achieving company buy-in from outside constituents than employee advocacy from your internal influencers. Employees are your best representatives, but in order for them to sing your company’s praises, they need to know the motivation behind its existence — and be able to communicate the same ideas for consistency. Your mission statement should excite and empower employees and give them a push toward advocating for your company.
• If you’ve recently updated your core values. Essentially, core values are guiding principles that explain how your company works and what it’s like to be part of your team. It’s beneficial to have values guiding your team’s day-to-day actions. Core values by themselves aren’t ineffective, but combining them with a mission statement strengthens and completes the message.
• If an anniversary is approaching. Revamping your mission statement can be a great and meaningful way to commemorate a milestone anniversary. Your company is always evolving, even if the changes aren’t immediately noticeable in your day-to-day work. Consider how your growth has affected your leadership and processes, and think about what you want your company to be in the coming years. Priorities and focuses shift, so your mission statement should be refreshed on occasion to accurately reflect your company’s changing reality.
Mission statements are vital to a company’s success, and changing yours or creating a new one can seem overwhelming. Follow these steps to make the process as painless as possible:
Leadership should be involved from the very beginning. If your leadership team doesn’t feel ownership over the mission statement or if those leaders don’t agree with it, the rest of your employees won’t, either. And don’t forget that each member of your leadership team has a unique perspective on the company, which can be a huge asset in crafting a comprehensive statement that works for everyone.
Mission statements can serve a variety of purposes, so before diving into the nitty-gritty details, decide what you want your statement to communicate. Should it talk about what you do? How you do it? Who you do it for? Why you do it? Also consider who the mission statement will be directed toward: Your customers? Your employees? Your partners? The community? All of the above?
Set up meetings with your leadership team and ask the following questions:
• What inspired you to start the company?
• What image do you want to convey to clients, employees, and the public?
• Will the mission statement be public or just used internally?
• What is the nature of your service or product? What determines pricing and quality? How do those factors relate to why your organization exists? How will they change over time?
• What sets you apart from the competition?
• What are the fundamental values and beliefs that guided your answers to the previous questions?
Ask each leadership team member to craft individual mission statements for the organization. Identify the key terms and themes, and use them to craft a version of the company mission statement.
Edit and edit again until everyone feels like you’ve got the perfect statement that speaks to your company’s purpose.
Share it with your team! Like core values, a mission statement that no one knows about or understands won’t do you any service. Bring your company together and share your mission to rally everyone around your purpose.
Above all, stay true to your organization. It’s helpful to research some of your favorite brands and their mission statements to get ideas, but don’t let that research limit you. Be unique and come up with a statement that truly fits your company and its goals.
Not only does a mission statement unite your employees and strengthen advocacy, but it also fuels your company’s content strategy. Your content should align with your brand, who you are, and what you do. Document a statement that communicates exactly that, and your team will have a much easier time creating content that reinforces it.
Creating or refreshing a mission statement can seem daunting. How can you sum up everything about your growing, changing company in just a couple of sentences? Often, all the information and inspiration you need to create the perfect mission statement is right in front of you.